I have been a member of several Methodist churches over the years and am also the author of a handbook for older people entitled How to Handle Later Life (Amaranth Books, 2017). My book's 1,000 pages explore the main choices people face as they grow older and the ways in which they can avoid potential problems.
Reviewing How to Handle Later Life, Eric Midwinter, a founder of the U3A movement, wrote:
'It would be difficult to visualise a more complete and wide-ranging compendium than this on how to cope with the pressures and perils of later age. ... Health, with more than 200 pages, housing, legal matters, finance and all other facets of later life are comprehensively and sympathetically treated, with a user-friendly structure and presentation. There should be a copy in every library, council office, doctor's practice, MP's surgery, Citizens Advice Bureau, Age UK office, if not in every household.'
Although aimed mainly at older people themselves, professionals from nurses to ministers tell me they have also found my book invaluable. Thus in his review in the Methodist Recorder, The Rev Albert Jewell, Methodist minister for 58 years and former head of pastoral care at Methodist Homes, wrote:
'Shoard addresses in a thorough-going and balanced manner the biggest concerns and decisions people face as they grow older... Reliable and comprehensive... It should be found in every public library... As someone who has been involved in dementia care and research over the years, I find the author's chapter on this subject particularly impressive. Its 25 pages are essential reading.'
Over the last twelve months, the pandemic has taken away opportunities to sell my book, whether at speaking events, conferences and exhibitions or in bookshops. My publisher has retained copies for sale, but I have taken others which it would otherwise have pulped to reduce storage costs, and am offering them free to individuals and groups in churches working to engage with older people. If any members of churches in your circuit, ordained or lay, involved in work with older people within churches and/or their wider community would like a copy, please tell them to drop me a line at PO Box 664, Rochester, Kent ME1 9JB with their name, address and a cheque made out to me for £3.70 (to cover postage and packing). For any questions about my offer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book includes a framework to understand the realities of growing older, both physical changes to the body and the particular nutritional, exercise and psychological needs of older people. It goes on to examine the challenges growing older in Britain today can bring in fields from transport, housing and health to finance, help in the home and social contact.
You can see several sample chapters, the table of contents, introduction and reviews on Amaranth Books' website (at amaranthbooks.co.uk/titles/how-to-handle-later-life). My website (at marionshoard.co.uk) provides information about my background and activities, including within the ecumenical group Christians on Ageing, of which I am a trustee.
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