Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Advice for Future Corpses: Book Review

Published 12 June 2018. 
Because I teach a university class on death, dying and bereavement, I read about a half dozen books on the topic annually. 

Usually, the books take one of two approaches:

The author describes the physical, legal, and economic aspects of dying.


The author describes the social, emotional, and metaphysical aspects of dying.

Tisdale does both in her book Advice for Future Corpses: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying.

Tisdale worked for years as a nurse, but she writes like someone who is trained in the humanities. She quotes Greek philosophers, European poets, and Buddhist monks in order to create spaces for her readers to meditate about the meaning of death and dying.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Gero Screagle Pride

USI defeated West Texas A&M 94-84.
I was one of 7,330 fans at the Ford Center.
When my husband took a job in Evansville, I wasn't sure what opportunities I would have to work as a gerontologist.

I didn't need to worry.

The first week that I arrived, I met a neighbor who works in the administration building at the University of Southern Indiana. Their mascot is the Screaming Eagle: Screagle.

Stephanie told me that the College of Nursing and Health Professions (led by Dr. Ann White) regularly hired part-time instructors to teach gerontology classes.

A few weeks later, the director of the gerontology program, Dr. Katie Ehlman, hired me.

She had been using my post about elder speak to teach her students about the power of language to affect attitudes.

I started teaching in the Fall of 2016, and I have also beein helping with MAIA: Mid-American Institution on Aging and Wellness. Follow #MAIArocks on Twitter.

Here is a list of the courses I have been teaching:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

On the Brink of Everything: Book Review

Published 26 June 2018. 
Palmer J. Palmer was goaded into publishing this book--On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, & Getting Old (2018)--after his editor noted the theme of aging showing up in his recent writings. 

From his vantage point on "the brink" or the edge, Palmer observes: 

"What I know for sure is this: we come from mystery and we return to mystery. I know this, too: standing closer to the reality of death awakens my wonder at the many gifts of life" (p. 16). 
This book shares insights based on his growing awareness of his own mortality. 

Palmer is in his 80s, and has been a community organizer, author, writer, speaker on the the topic of seeking the true self. (His work reminds me a bit of the quest that psychologist Carl Rogers describes.) 

Those who are concrete, literal, practical people will have very little patience for Palmer. Those who are contemplative, idealistic, and focused on exploring inner landscapes will be inspired. 

The book is a collection of essays (some previously published in books or on blogs) and poetry. Some material is new. Other reviews here at Goodreads indicate that the book revisits recurring themes in Parker's work, so it seems as though it's a good overview of his work. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Gracious Uncertainty: Book Review

Published 15 August 2017.
Jane Sigloh, a retired Episcopal priest, has published Gracious Uncertainty: Faith in the Second Half of Life (2017).

Because I am scheduled to teach Spirituality and Aging in the upcoming fall semester, I'm selecting 20 books on that topic so that each of my students can do a report to supplement the textbook.

Many of the books are tipped either to theology or to fold wisdom. However, too many of the books I've selected are steeped in theology (or even psychology or New Age theories).

Sigloh's book leans more towards the folk wisdom side of the spectrum. However, it's clear that she is well read and can take a more academic approach. She often chooses to be more accessible, and it's a strength.

Her chapters are brief, maybe three or four pages long, making them ideal as daily meditations. They might also serve as prompts for writing in a journal.