A Practical Guide to Letting Go,
Aging Well, and Finding Unexpected Happiness
EIGHTYSOMETHINGS is a must-read for people in their eighties, and also for their families. Adult children—often bewildered by their aging parents—need a wise guide like EIGHTYSOMETHINGS to help them navigate their parents’ last stage of life with real-world guidelines and conversation starters. Readers, young and old alike, will find this first-of-its-kind book eye-opening, comforting, and filled with practical tips.
Old age is not what it used to be. For the first time ever, most people in the United States are living into their eighties. EIGHTYSOMETHINGS changes our understanding of old age with an upbeat and emotionally savvy view of the uncharted territory of the last stage of life. With insight and humor, Dr. Katharine Esty describes the series of dramatic and difficult transitions that eightysomethings usually experience and how, despite their losses, they so often find themselves unexpectedly happy.
Living into one’s eighties doesn’t have to mean declining health
and loneliness: Dr. Esty shows readers how to embrace—and thrive during—the later stages of life. Based on her more than 120 interviews around the country, Esty explores the lives of ordinary eightysomethings—their attitudes, activities, secrets, worries, purposes, and joys. Their stories illustrate how real people in their eighties are living and how they make sense of their lives. Esty adds her wisdom and perspective to this multi-dimensional look at being old as a social psychologist, a practicing psychotherapist, and as an eighty-six-year-old widow living in a retirement community.
what people are saying
“[Katharine Esty has] written an extraordinary book. I have not seen anything like it, and, indeed, nothing like it could have been written in the past, when many fewer of us were living into our eighties and beyond. [This] book is highly personal, while at the same time authoritative and well researched. The personal interviews with eightysomethings sing with authenticity and emotional power. There is no doubt that we are getting the real thing here, an honest glimpse of what life is like in our eighties and how to prepare for it (for those of us not there yet). Especially welcome is the advice to eighty somethings and their families at the end of each chapter.”
—Alan Lightman, author of the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams and professor at MIT
“This well-written and thoughtful book is a useful guide for aging adults and their children. Esty's discussion questions offer readers the opportunity to have fresh, honest and kind conversations.”
—Mary Pipher, author of the best-selling book, Women Rowing North and Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders
“Katharine Esty has written an important book about aging, one of interest to anyone on a journey of self-discovery or anyone trying to better understand an elder loved one. Her experience-based revelations are deeply perceptive and illustrative of the final stages of human development—old age. Anyone who plans to become an “eighty something,” as she calls it, or who has affection for or attachment to one should definitely read this book and benefit from Katharine’s deep experience-based wisdom. She explores in detail, through copious interviews and examples, the roadmap for navigating the advanced years, the eighties, providing insights that become more and more valuable as we all share the luxury of living longer.”
—Selden Edwards, author of the New York Times bestseller The Little Book and The Lost Prince