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Loving Later Life: An Ethics of Aging

Author: Frits de Lange
Published By: Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Pages: 159
Price: £12.99
ISBN: 978 0 8028 7216 6

Reviewed by Author unknown.

This book is a fascinating and stimulating read. The author argues that “the models of successful, productive, healthy and active aging have a strong anti-aging tendency”, and that in the words of Chris Gilleard, “successful old age is old age without old age”. De Lange’s concern is with the ‘Fourth Age, which he describes as “a shadow land of diminishment and the portal to death, the results of our inability to eliminate the impairments at the end of life and to push the vital and healthy Third Age until the very moment of death”. To cope with the Fourth Age, he says, we need to develop “the ethics of love”, which in the first place involves loving our ageing selves and only then loving the aged.

The book is a mixture of ethics, philosophy, theology and sociology. It is a challenging book, as indicated not least by the final two sentences: “It is essential that we develop compassion for speechless old people, those who feel cut off from the rest of humankind and are unable to express their complain any longer. We must sit down with them and share their cry”.

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You are reading Issue 64 of Ministry Today, published in July 2015.

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