My original motivation for writing Health Promotion and Aging was that existing books on the topic were edited. These books had large gaps in content and many of the contributors hauled out old material to meet their deadlines. I addressed both of these concerns. In addition to the old stand-bys like exercise, nutrition, mental health, smoking cessation, and medical screenings, I added unusual, but important content such as chapters on public policy, diversity, long-term and end-of-life care, health behavior change, complementary and alternative medicine, and a glimpse into the future. I didn’t leave out gay aging or spirituality and aging either.
As far as being up-to-date, each new edition is reviewed word-by-word. This sixth edition has 15 tables and figures replaced or added. And do you think the Affordable Care Act does not affect older adults? After all, Medicare is for older adults. Think again. I have more than a dozen separate entries on how it impacts older adults.
Above all else, I wanted to make my textbook enjoyable to students. I’m too old to waste my remaining time in dull classes. I have humor distributed throughout the book, with multiple references to Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, and George W. Bush.
Okay, the last person is not funny to Republican students. And even less funny to Democrats. But I’m an old-fashioned liberal when it comes to matters of health, and am opinionated throughout, but the Republicans and Libertarians in my classes enjoy speaking up the most and taking me on. Some might argue that to promote health you need to ignore politics. I argue that we all need to be engaged, and if you do not have an opinion, I will help you form one, no matter what it is.
And, finally, someone, that would be me, is willing to answer the question raised by The Beatles: “Will you still need me when I’m 64?” I had to raise the age, however, to 84. The Beatles weren’t particularly gerontologically astute. But you will be after going through 500+ pages of lovingly constructed material. You can live without reading my book, but it will be an impoverished, joyless existence.