Official Review: Creating Unlimited Options For Aging

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Official Review: Creating Unlimited Options For Aging

Post by kislany » 14 Dec 2017, 11:00

[Following is an official review of "Creating Unlimited Options For Aging" by Joe Carella.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Creating Unlimited Options For Aging by Joe Carella is a book which touches on a very important topic, one that should not be easily dismissed: that of the retirement age and the future of the elderly. Our Western society is very strict about how older people should be handled. We all know it, and we all anticipate it with horror and trepidation. Most older folks are put in nursing homes by the young who can’t or won’t take the responsibility of caring for their parents.

And we all know how these nursing homes affect everyone who has entered their premises. “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” sounds just about right.

My own grandmother lived for several years with my aunt, who took her in after my grandfather died. As the years passed, my cousins had all grown up and had kids of their own. Now, my aunt had to not only take care of my grandmother but also of her own nuclear family. She made the tough decision to put my grandmother, whose health was strongly declining, into a nursing home. My grandmother, 86 at the time, passed away two weeks after she was committed.

This story stayed with me ever since, and now that my own parents are fast leaving their 70s, I’m scared about their future as well.

The author makes a compelling case for allowing the elderly to remain an integral part of society. He starts the book by giving us a bit of his own history on how he came to find the passion for his main cause. He takes us on a journey to several Scandinavian countries and shows us how different the care for the elderly is there compared to the US (and, honestly, most of Europe too). There, the living facilities are way different than what our own elderly are used to. They have freedom; the facilities are built in a way that allows easy interaction with the outdoors and other people. Also, they are encouraged to care for themselves and ask for help only when they need it, promoting self-reliance. Basically, they are treated like everyone else. They just happen to be older, and might or might not be sicker.

This is a model built on four main principles which Joe Carella describes in his first book, Unlimited Options for Aging, and expands in his second book, Creating Unlimited Options for Aging. He is Executive Director of Scandinavian Charitable Society of Greater Boston, a position which allows him to help elderly with compassion through the Scandinavian Living Center and Scandinavian Cultural Center, which is part assisted community and part a way for people of all ages to explore the modern Nordic culture and come together at the center.

In the book, the author describes his hope that his vision for the elderly will turn the American way around to treating them with dignity, kindness, and love. The concepts Joe discusses in this relatively short book of only 90 pages are quite simple. Abolishing the typical institutions and replacing them with community-centered living, helping elderly gain back their autonomy, and giving them a zest for life by allowing them to form new friendships and relationships and explore new hobbies. This gives elderly hope that the future is not always bleak.

I have to admit that this book shook me to the core and gave me hope that such thing is possible before I am at that advanced age. However, one thing I didn’t get from the book is how much such a living space would cost an average person. Is this really affordable for everyone or only by those who have accumulated funds? To get this information I visited the SLC’s website and realized that unless I won the lottery anytime soon, I wouldn’t be able to afford it long term.

Nevertheless, I realize this book’s value for the future. The more people know about this new approach, the more common it can become. And the more commonplace it is, the cheaper it can get since it won’t be something unique and secluded anymore.

The book is well written with a clear style. Joe Carella does have the tendency to repeat the major keywords several times on a page, but I do understand that he is trying to drill the point deep into our brains. The book has a few spelling and grammatical errors, and while I would usually lower the rating from 4 to 3, in this case, I still give Creating Unlimited Options For Aging 4 out of 4 stars because it is an important book and its message is one of the most powerful ones I came across during the recent years. And who should read this book? Everyone. After all, if you live long enough, you will get to that scary old age with all its negative implications for your life. So how could I restrict this book's audience?

Creating Unlimited Options For Aging
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Post by kandscreeley » 16 Dec 2017, 11:07

More and more of our population is getting to that age, so this book is certainly appropriate now. I'm glad he makes a good case for this. Sounds like a book we all need to read. Thanks for the review.
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Post by CatInTheHat » 16 Dec 2017, 16:03

This is a very timely book for me, as my sister and I work to help my parents as they age.
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 16 Dec 2017, 22:34

Actually it is a very timely book! I am from the east and this issue where elders been put to homes is a big! Hope this book rings a bell to our society!

Also it reminds me of my grand parents I feel sorry for them, having 3 children. My mom been eldest looks after parents as she can and she only gets allowance of Rs. 3000 a month which is only 20 dollars. My aunt does the big job she does all the hard work facing troubles through her own family life with parents and a no good useless pathetic uncle of mine who is negligent and does not take responsibility hiding in his in-laws house. So ya I hope you get how bad life is!
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Post by MarisaRose » 18 Dec 2017, 07:01

This book doesn't really seem to be for me, but I'm glad the author did a great job of conveying this important message in an easy to understand manner. Thanks!
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Post by Lincolnshirelass » 18 Dec 2017, 07:39

This is an excellent review and I agree with very much of what the ethos of the book appears to be - we certainly don't treat the elderly with enough respect and kindness, generally speaking. But I believe there will never cease to be fear of ageing until we can banish the nightmare of Alzheimer's Disease, or at least hold out some realistic hope. In the end stages, or even before, there is, alas, no way they can enjoy friendships, hobbies, etc. All the same, thanks for a good review of a most interesting book.
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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 18 Dec 2017, 07:48

I agree about the old age is scary. Now it came to understanding how my parents are so strict about our food (their lecture is to "eat you food like it's your medicine otherwise you have to eat your medicine as your food" and to exercise daily because good health is wealth which will serve us in future to be able to self reliance i.e. my grandparents are still busy in farming in their 80's. Plus, to keep on investing so that we can fund ourselves in our retirement instead of expecting from our pension money. My grandparents even investing for their own graveyards and coffins because according to them, they don't want to trouble us to do all the necessary funeral processes for them in future. Indeed this book is important read to all of us so that we can have better understandings of ourselves in the old age and to make preparations accordingly before it's too late.
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Post by BookHausJ » 21 Dec 2017, 01:04

This is interesting book among the many. If people don't get die early, a reality of getting old everyone must be facing. The sad part, not all have accumulated enough fund to take care of their elderly. Aside from many of us don't want to sacrifice time taking care of them. Hope there is really a better program be implemented for this reality. And I'm really thinking one. I like the review, and I'm lining up this book for future reading. Thanks!

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Post by pinklover » 25 Dec 2017, 05:51

Most older folks are put in nursing homes by the young who can’t or won’t take the responsibility of caring for their parents.
I am sad on this story because the young generation nowadays are doing this. The bond of love between parent-and-child are declining due to the trends of the world. :cry:
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Post by Mercy Bolo » 28 Dec 2017, 15:46

This is such a timely book. The addition of your personal experience makes it even more appealing. We too will get old someday. Let's just hope society will treat us with dignity.
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Post by drunyan » 19 Jan 2018, 21:42

I agree that the elderly need to remain an integral part of society. People used to live with their children and grandchildren. The "me-centered-ness" of American society has senior citizens moving to retirement centers while they can be independent, and then when they cannot, they become isolated.
I think many people want to be independent, but just don't know how to. There are fears of becoming dependent on children or other family members, and becoming a burden.

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Post by Eva Darrington » 23 Jan 2018, 12:06

This review is very well-done and has piqued my interest to read this book. I am Scandinavian and found your description of the author's interest in preserving Scandinavian culture very interesting. Thanks for such a beautiful review.
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Post by Darakhshan Nazir » 23 Jan 2018, 23:38

I think everyone should be reading this one, as it delivers an important message.
Great review!
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