We Need to Talk About Ageing

A book review by Diane Lyons

We’re all getting older and yet ageing is a topic that’s rarely spoken about. Difficult conversations are swept under the “it’ll be fine” rug and rarely revisited.

Clinical psychologist Melissa Levi has delivered a book that covers the three trajectories of ageing – successful ageing, normal ageing, and compromised ageing. She provides information on what to expect as you age, what ‘normal’ looks like, and how to identify some of the symptoms of common medical and psychiatric conditions. More importantly, she explains what actions you can take and how to find help.

With a blend of personal anecdotes, scientific insights, and societal observations, she delves into the complexities of growing older and shines a light on the beauty and challenges that come with ageing.

Levi’s writing is engaging and relatable, making it accessible to a broad readership. She tackles the subject of ageing with a delicate touch and a refreshing perspective that challenges preconceived notions and societal stigmas surrounding getting older. Throughout the book, she shares her own experiences and observations and invites readers to join her on a journey of self-discovery and empathy.

One of the book’s strengths lies in its ability to combine scientific research with personal narratives. Levi weaves together stories from her own life and those of the people she’s encountered with data-driven insights about ageing. This includes the interplay between genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors that contribute to the ageing process.

Having a ‘fly on the wall’ perspective while Levi’s clients are applying her suggestions for managing a condition is particularly helpful.

Levi’s book also explores the emotional and psychological aspects of growing older. She discusses the loneliness, fears, and vulnerabilities that many individuals face as they age. Offering solutions and advice for both older individuals and their loved ones, she encourages readers to have open and honest conversations about ageing.

Readers are also directed to Levi’s website which has some downloadable resources. These include a behaviour monitoring form, questions to prompt a discussion with your ageing loved one about future roles in their care and a GP interview checklist.

In “We Need to Talk about ageing”, Melissa Levi offers a refreshing and compassionate perspective on the ageing journey and inspires readers to engage in meaningful dialogues about this essential life phase.

It’s a valuable resource for individuals of all ages and reminds us that we’re all on this ageing journey together so we should, indeed, be talking about it.