Further Resources on Later Life

We have pulled together information and links for a few books around this topic for you to explore. We will add more as we find them:

Spiritual Dimensions of Ageing – edited by Malcolm Johnson and Joanna Walker

Bringing together an international group of leading scholars across the fields of psychology, theology, history, philosophy, sociology and gerontology, the volume distils the latest advances in research on spirituality and ageing, and engages in vigorous discussion about how we can interpret this learning for the benefit of older people and those who seek to serve and support them.

Come Let us Age! An invitation to grow old boldly – Wanda Nash

In this unique book, Wanda Nash, a well-established writer on spirituality in her late seventies, reflects on growing old with faith and a positive spirit. This compelling invitation to grow old boldly – full of her own experiences and insights – includes Wanda’s reflection on her encounter later in life with terminal cancer, and her thoughts on coping with the daily challenges of living a Christian life in her illness and in ageing.

The Freedom of Years, Ageing in Perspective by Harriet and Donald Mowatt

The authors explain how retirement brings with it a freedom to be authentically who we are, an opportunity to consider the cyclical nature of life; to see it as ‘a circular, progressive and eternal process of orientation, disorientation and reorientation’ (to quote Walter Brueggemann). ‘This idea,’ say the authors, ‘of constantly reviewing, discovering, being confused and then finding a new way of seeing, is important to our ageing story.’ (p. 158)

The Contented Life – Spirituality and the Gift of Years by Robert Atwell

This book arose from a series of talks the author gave on the spirituality of growing older and the gifts that wait to be discovered.. wisdom, humour and honesty are essential for these transitional decades too and this short book offers all three in plenty. The author’s background in Benedictine life, with its profound understanding of what makes for a balanced and rich life, flavours a book of timeless value.

At the End of the Day – Enjoying life in the departure lounge by David Winter

An octogenarian takes a wryly humorous look at what it’s like to be old in an era of the relentlessly new. Turning to the Bible, he explores its store of timeless wisdom, encouragement and reassurance about what it has always meant to grow old and be old. The book is structured around a series of fascinating biblical pictures, from the legendary Methuselah to the feisty Sarah and the great leader Moses, from the picture of inevitable decline as the Preacher saw it in Ecclesiastes to the glorious Nunc Dimittis of old Simeon in the temple.

The Gift of Years – Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister

The world glorifies youth and degrades old age. The Gift of Years flies in the face of this conventional wisdom. It is a wonderful celebration of the blessings of growing older, clear-eyed and unsentimental about the reality of the ageing process but showing us that our later years are gift, not burden. It is time for us, Joan Chittister says, to let go of both our fantasies of eternal youth and our fears of getting older.

Warmth of the Heart Prevents the Body from Rusting by Marie de Hennezel

In this eloquent meditation on ageing, Marie de Hennezel guides us through a true art of growing old . She recalls her encounters as a clinical psychologist with extraordinary people who ‘grow old gracefully and through her experience shows us how to make the most of this time in our lives, to avoid depression and to stay happy. She believes that wherever we grow old and whatever our circumstances, if we can maintain energy in our hearts and believe in the power of joy and human warmth, this can transform us and the way we look at the world.

Losses in Later Life: A New Way of Walking with God by Richard L. Dayringer and R. Scott Sullender

This book focuses on seven major losses: loss of youth, loss of family, loss of parents, loss of work, loss of spouse, loss of health, and loss of identity. You will explore the path to becoming a spiritually mature person who has faith and is able to grieve, let go, and release what is lost in order to live a mentally healthy and rewarding life.

Finding Meaning – The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler

David Kessler – the world’s foremost expert on grief and the coauthor with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of the iconic On Grief and Grieving – journeys beyond the classic five stages to discover a sixth stage: meaning.

Kessler shares his hard-earned wisdom and offers a roadmap to remembering those who have died with more love than pain, how to move forward in a way that honours our loved ones and ultimately transform grief into a more peaceful and hopeful experience.

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