No-one approaches aging with enthusiasm. Activities we accomplish easily in our 20s and 30s become more difficult as we grow old but, though change is inevitable, recognising and understanding precisely what is happening to our bodies and minds allows us to continue to manage and enjoy our lives.
Patrick Rabbitt is a cognitive gerontologist who has researched physical and mental aging for over 50 years and so can interpret his personal daily experiences of the aging process through a comprehensive understanding of what gerontological research has revealed about how our bodies and brains age, and how these changes affect our everyday experiences and lives.
Engagingly written, Professor Rabbitt’s book is a fascinating account of why our sensory and cognitive experiences change as we get older, and what these developments mean for our overall physical and emotional well-being. Describing the latest research the book covers the mental changes that affect our daily lives such as those in memory, intelligence, attention, sleep, vision and hearing, taste and smell, touch and balance, anxiety, depression and perception of the passage of time. It also discusses how far we can keep and develop the skills we have mastered over our lifetimes. The book debunks unhelpful myths about the aging process and offers guidance on how we can age better.
This is an absorbing account of the aging process from one of the most eminent gerontologists working today. Its warmth and candour make it an engaging and helpful guide for those interested in understanding their own, or their relatives’ ageing. Its rigour and comprehensiveness make ideal for students seeking an accessible alternative to standard textbooks on aging and for health professionals working with older people.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Talking About Old Age Part One – What is Aging? 2. Why We Age 3. How Fast Do We Change? 4. How Well Do We Understand What Is Happening to Us? 5. Bodily Signs Of Mental Changes Part Two – Memory 6. What is Memory For? 7. Remembering To Do Things 8. Who Said That? 9. Losing And Finding Words and Names 10. Remembering The Beginnings Of Our Lives 11. Remembering The Rest Of Our Lives Part Three – Senses 12. Seeing 13. Hearing 14. Taste and Smell 16. Fumbling and Stumbling Part Four – Intelligence, Skills and Wisdom 17. General Smarts 18. Keeping The Skills We Have Learned 19. Reading Others’ Minds 20. The Getting Of Wisdom Part Five – Living with Aging 21. Those Old Blues: Depression and Anxiety 22. The Speed of Thought 23. Paying Attention 24. Good and Bad Days 25. Sleep 26. Time Passing Part Six – Aging Well 27. What Can We Do About All This?
Patrick Rabbitt is Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester, UK, and remains an active researcher affiliated to both the University of Oxford, UK, and the University of Western Australia, Australia. He is also Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the British Society of Gerontology and a Member of the Academy of Europe.
"...without a doubt the most author-itative and readable introduction to cognitive ageing to have been published in many a year. The interaction between ageing and memory, intel-ligence, wisdom, the senses, and attention are dealt with in an exemplary manner. Concepts and ﬁndings that leave other authors struggling to explain, even to someone with a doctorate, are here made clear and obvious. However, there is no hint what-soever of dumbing down. The book could be safely recommended as a principal textbook for an under-graduate course or as a primer for a postgraduate degree...simply to regard this as a textbook is like arguing that Lady Chatterley’s Lover offers some useful tips on estate management. The book is a joy and delight to read . . . It is what many popular science books should be but aren’t—it actually informs at a deep level and does not just deliver a few factoids dressed up in populist froth’
" – Ian Stuart-Hamilton, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
"...Rabbit's goal in writing this book is to provide a summary of what is known about cognitive aging and to show that the last half century of research does more than confirm that aging produces a steady decline in cognition, with the ntent being to provide an “owner’s manual” of sorts about cognition to the reader... As a conversation about cognitive aging, this book meets its goal, and so it is useful for the lay reader or novice needing to know a little more about how cognition will change with age. " – Donna J. LaVoie, PsycCRITIQUES
"This book is unusual: though it is chock full of data discussions, tables, and graphs, it targets general readers - i.e., those who wonder or worry about themselves or their aging relatives, especially parents - as well as an academic audience. The 26 chapters are organized into sections that define aging and explore memory, the senses, intelligence and wisdom, living with aging, and aging well. The chapters are brief and focused, and the prose is often funny and always candid. Rabbitt’s good humor in the face of his own aging is delightful; despite some regrettable changes, he makes a convincing case that growing old well beats the alternative. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals; general readers." – D.S. Dunn, Moravian College, Pennsylvania, USA, in CHOICE, July 2015
"It was refreshing to read a book with such a vast array of topics reflecting all areas of human ability. When one thinks of a book on ageing, it is usually memory and physical changes that spring to mind, but not so much of other more obscure topics, such as how time perception changes with age. After reading this book, you will gain a full and interesting overview of what occurs as we grow older." – Anne Torrens-Burton in The Psychologist
"I find the concepts of ageing particularly appealing, especially the information on processing speed. It was refreshing to read a book with such a vast array of topics reflecting all areas of human ability. When one thinks of a book on ageing, it is usually memory and physical changes that spring to mind, but not so much of other more obscure topics, such as how time perception changes with age. After reading this book, you will gain a full and interesting overview of what occurs as we grow older." – Anna Torrens- Burton who is a PhD student at Swansea University, AFC
"Drawing on his vast experience of work in cognitive gerontology, Professor Rabbitt provides a scholarly, yet accessible, account of the changes that we can all expect to experience as we grow older. A must-read for anyone studying the psychology of aging, those working with older people, or, indeed, anyone who is not as young as they used to be." – Steve Jones, Department of Psychology, Leeds Trinity University, UK
"Pat Rabbitt has distilled a lifetime of scientific research into an ‘owner’s manual,’ debunking myths and unmasking inconvenient truths about aging. He is witty, pithy, and wise." – Susan Kemper, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, USA