Monday, October 10, 2022

Critical Age Theory: Book Review

Published 29 May 2022.
I have been reading widely about aging since 2010.  

A few books take a comprehensive view of the aging process, titles that I often recommend to people who are not gerontologists so that they can get The Big Picture. 

I have found another title to add to my list of must reads about aging. 

Mario D. Garrett, PhD has written a jeremiad of sorts about the many institutions that prey on older adults, capitalizing on the vulnerability many face in late life. 

To create a context, I suggest readers first watch the 2020 film, I Care A Lot, directed by J. Blakeson and starring Rosamund Pike. I watched the film the year it was released and found it interesting as an exaggeration, a dramatization of the state of eldercare in the 21st Century. 

Two years after viewing that film, Garrett's book has me rethinking I Care a Lot as being less a niche genre black satirical comedy thriller and more from the genre "based on true events."  I had already planned on mentioning this film in my review before I saw that Garrett references I Care A Lot (2020) himself.   

Watch the film, but if you going to choose one, read Garrett's book.  

Critical Age Theory: Profiteering From the Final Stages of Life (2022) describes the ways for-profit companies and even the government and non-profits fail older adults when they are the most frail of mind, body, and finances. 

I teach college courses on aging (gerontology), and this book would work well to alert my students to the unethical practices that are inherent in the system and challenging for individuals to change at their level. 

The chapters are as follows (with a staccato summary/response for each chapter). 

(Here is my Goodreads review, which I wrote chapter-by-chapter as I read. It's grittier than my blog review.) 

Introduction: This sets the tone with Garrett as the lone voice in the wilderness, asking people to look at the larger systems controlling aging and to spend less time blaming elders and their family caregivers and less time wagging fingers at those paid to offer support directly to older adults.  The problem goes higher up, and it goes deep into the structures of 21st century power structures.  Here is one example that gestures to system rather than the individual as the root problem:
"We make it easy for . . . commercial practices to continue as we tend to see only individuals that commit fraud or harm. As with elder abuse, we personalize the interaction. however, in most cases, the institutional make up--what we euphemistically refer to as their business model, or business culture--determines how individual workers behave within an agency. Since the business model dictates workers' hours, duties, and responsibilities, it is logical to examine the business model being used" (9). 

(I do not remember Garrett using the word "hegemony," but academics use this--and other words--to study the network of power that is pervasive and difficult to combat.)

1. Drugs: Drugs are often improperly prescribed and almost always overpriced.  

*Each chapter ends with a "Playbook" that unearths the game plan that seems to drive decisions based on profitability over patient-centered / customer-centered / client-centered service. One of the items from the "Playbook" on the chapter "Drugs" is this: "Price medications on the basis of what people can afford rather than what they cost to develop and manufacture" (37). 

Monday, June 20, 2022

2022 MAIA Concurrent Sessions

After being virtual for two years, the Mid-America Institute on Aging and Wellness (MAIA) will be returning to an in-person format on Thursday August 11 and Friday August 12, 2022. 

See the MAIA webpage for details about keynote speakers, concurrent sessions, corporate sponsors, exhibits, and registration. 

Here is a list of the presenters for the concurrent sessions.  Here is a link to the 2022 MAIA brochure, which lists the dates and times. Room numbers will be announced at the venue. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

2022 Mid-American Institute on Aging & Wellness: Keynote Speakers


MAIA 2022 Keynotes

After moving to an online format in 2020 and 2021, the Mid-American Institution on Aging & Wellness is returning to an in-person event. 

The University of Southern Indiana, located in Evansville, Indiana, will host on Thursday 11 August and Friday 12 August. The local area on aging, SWIRCA is a co-host. There are several corporate sponsors as well. See MAIA's site for information, including a brochure and a link to registration information.

Here is a preview of information about the four keynote speakers who deliver their remarks at the start and end of each day. In between, there will be 30 plus concurrent sessions.  See the brochure for a list of the concurrent sessions.  Here is a blog post, detailing the concurrent sessions from MAIA 2019, complete with several photographs. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Overloaded: Unplugging a Bit

Image Credit: State Farm
via Creative Commons

 For being in my sixties, I have pretty good health. I attend between 12 and 15 (sometimes 18 ) classes a week at my local YMCA. I do a mix of cardio, stretching, and strength training. However, I am having trouble managing my cognition. 

It's nothing serious. I am just realizing that I can no longer manage multiple projects without losing things, dropping items, or driving my car into brick frame next to the garage door.  

I've had mishaps such as this as a teen, a twentysomething, a working mom in my 30s and 40s, as a graduate student with teens in my 50s. But at 60, I'm STILL overcommitting myself, and it's time to choose doing a few things well instead of trying to do everything--which means that I do all those things poorly.  

(In April of this year, I pulled into my driving at 9 pm, thinking that I had put the car into park. I had been up since 4 am tackling my "To Do List" all day.  Nope. My car was not in park. I was too busy thinking about other things instead of focusing on the immediate task at hand. I tend to live in my head. As a child, I would walk to school only to have my teacher point out my uncombed hair, untied, shoes, and wrongly buttoned blouse.  I still have my head in the clouds. This June, I left my groceries in my car overnight. Again, I was thinking about other things instead of grounding myself into the immediate moment.)  

For the last couple of years, I have been juggling the following: