Friday, December 23, 2016

                        LIGHT FOR THE FOURTH AGE OF LIFE

We are all growing older. Aging is like a Tsunami wave descending on us. The average age of residents in this retirement community is 91! I never thought I would outlive my parents and grandparents, but near 88 year of age I have! So many of the books written about aging center on the Third Age of Life (70-79). Jane Thibault and I have written a best seller, Pilgrimage Into the Third Age of Life, but what about the Fourth Stage (80 and beyond)? Most books on Aging end with the 4th stage, when Third Agers are still active, successful and devoid of any serious disabilities of older age. But serious issues of life and health descend on us in the 4th stage of life, often for which we are not prepared. We are what  Rick Moody calls, the "illderly." One exception to this is Frits de Lange's recent book, Loving Later Life. (William B. Eerdmans, 2015).  I reviewed it for Interpretation, purchased copies for family and friends and recommended it to everyone. It is like a candle, giving light to the darkness of old age. It describes the issues of the Fourth Age of life, with clarity and wisdom. It is not only a great book for those like me in their 80's, on the brink of deep old age but for those still in their 70's, who fear the years to come. For the next  few blogs, I intend to share some of the insights from this book, as well as some of the ways I am coping with issues which de Lange so well describes. In so doing, it is my way of offering pastoral care to all who now,  or soon, will these inevitable  challenges to our well being.  Stay tuned!