it is gained in a righteous life.
Proverbs 16:31, ESV
A couple of months ago, I reviewed Christopher Bogosh's Compassionate Jesus - Rethinking the Christian's Approach to Modern Medicine. As I mentioned in that review, Bogosh offers his unique experience and insights to the discussion of health care in both the medical field – from his training as a medic in the Army to a career in intensive care nursing, as well as a degree in theology and a call to the pastorate that led to a ministry in hospice and palliative care. It’s this experience that inspired the biblical model for health care that he encourages Christians to consider, as well as his thoughts on healthy aging and both the medical and spiritual perspective on growing older and meeting the needs of older adults in his recently released The Golden Years - Healthy Aging & The Older Adult.
The Golden Years - Healthy Aging & The Older Adult is a book for all adults who desire to age as healthy as possible and to prepare for the changes that accompany aging, as well as those who are responsible for or care about the well-being and care of older adults in their family, neighborhood, church or community. In other words, it's a book for all of us.
While he does not claim The Gold Years to be an exhaustive resource, with a Biblical worldview, Bogosh does an excellent job of covering a wide range of topics in 125 pages with chapters covering topics from the characteristics of the elderly population, the normal process of aging, healthy aging, preventative healthcare, the management of healthcare in the older adult, common health issues, and chronic health problems and management. He carefully describes and differentiates between the kinds of dementia seen in older adults, as well as the prognosis and treatment specific to each kind. In his descriptions of all the health issues, Bogosh uses vocabulary that is easy to understand for the average adult unfamiliar with medical terminology.
Some of Bogosh's topics - including certain legal issues and concerns, Medicare, and the effects of The Affordable Care Act (which Bogosh appears to support) on the aging population - are more applicable to citizens of the United States.
Bogosh reminds us that practicing preventative healthcare and wise planning for our healthcare needs as we age is both good stewardship of our body and shows respect and love for those who will be responsible for meeting our needs if we are not able to do so in the future.
Bogosh states that the ideal care setting for older adults, with or without dementia, is at home with a dedicated caregiver, and I wholeheartedly agree, but he also offers a few words of caution.
Some Christians translate Paul's warning to care for family members (I Timothy 5.8) as a mandate to provide twenty-four-hour-hands-on nursing care for spouses or parents, even when they do not know how to provide it. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve in love, but there is no honor if the care is unsafe, neglectful, and potentially harmful to the older adult with dementia. p. 107
Bogosh encourages caregivers to be aware of their limitations, to use the multiple resources available to them, and recommends the services of hospice, regardless of the healthcare setting, for the older adult in the last stages of dementia.
My mother frequently commented that "growing older ain't for sissies." Focusing on the process of aging and the potential healthcare needs of the older adult is not the most encouraging read, but an important one; and as Bogosh reminds us with frequent references to the gospel throughout, Christ is our hope, and Christians can "live out the 'golden years' with the glory of God in view." (p. 125)
I was provided with a complimentary copy of The Golden Years by Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion.