A book of compassion


Review of The Elderwise Way, Sandy Sabersky, available on Amazon

People with Alzheimer’s can live a life of anxiety, sadness, and pain. Or people with dementia can live a life of joy and beauty. You will increase people’s chances of the latter if you read this book.

Compassion is at the core of all the world’s major belief systems: Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Compassion is also the heart and core of her brilliant new book, The Elderwise Way, and the Elderwise programs.

The author describes the Elderwise day: where one is warmly welcomed with delight; seated comfortably with a warm beverage in a mug and toast at a table with fresh flowers or natural items such as shells or lovely stones. Then you are invited by a facilitator to talk or be quiet. Toward the end of the social hour the participants transition to paint or work with clay or poetry; then there are moments of meditation and guided movement with music; then a delicious freshly-cooked healthy lunch.

Heck! I wish all of our mornings started and ended this way! While the author mentions that all people should be treated as of equal value, much like Mr. Neighbors, “you are perfect just as you are,” we should all be reminded that this holds true for all people of all ages, not just ‘elders’.

You need not be a location-based entity to honor people the Elderwise way. Nor do you even need to be an elder or caregiver. Read this book and learn the how and why of better treatment of people of all ages and cognitive states. Buy this book or request it from your local library. As a writer myself, I know the agonizing suffering of birthing a book. It should not go unread!

Jeannette Franks, PhD

Published by jeannettefranks

Jeannette Franks, PhD, is a passionate gerontologist and for over 20 years has taught ethics, grief and loss, and courses on geriatrics and gerontology for the University of Washington. Franks' most recent book is, To Move or To Stay Put: A Guide for Your Last Decades. Look for it now on the University Bookstore website http://www.bookstore.washington.edu/home/home.taf? It is also available at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge. Franks previously published a definitive guide to independent and assisted living titled Washington Retirement Options, and often speaks on retirement options, disability issues, end-of-life issues and is an advocate for accessibility. She has a goal of making Bainbridge an elder-friendly community and is available to groups and families to discuss these issues. She served for nine years on the Kitsap County Advisory Council on Aging and Long-term Care. She also has the privilege of working in a small way for the past 15 years with the Suquamish tribal elders.

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