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The Stigma of
Growing Old in America
- A Personal Perspective
By Pat Estelle

Don't let this soft cover book of only 56 pages fool you. There is much food for thought in it.

What grabbed my attention first was the definition of the word "old' the author provides from the dictionary. Definitions 3 and 4 were "Obsolete" and "No longer acceptable or useful." It's downright ugly.

The author tells us take responsibility for ourselves, including our health and appearance. Stay in shape and, for goodness sake, bathe.

Ms. Estelle, who worked as a volunteer in nursing homes and hospice programs, also points out the many prejudices in this country toward a person just because of the number of years they have lived.

For example if an older person drives a sport car or laughs loudly we are frowned on and called a "crazy old lady" or told "he's in his second childhood."

If we like rock and roll we are considered weird. We are expected to dress conservatively.

We need to speak up about this abuse for ourselves and for those not able to do so themselves.

We are told that getting old does not mean becoming frail, sick and helpless. The author points out the millions of seniors who "are healthy, physically fit, useful, productive, and contributing to society each and every day."

This short and to-the-point book is easy reading and well worth your time.

Reviewed by Pat Hanson

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