by Carol Higgins Taylor
Eastern Area Agency on Aging
Snowflakes were swirling outside my window this morning. Bright glossy department store flyers promising super savings fell out of my weekend paper in a colorful cascade reminding all readers that indeed the holiday shopping clock is ticking loudly.
While some people begin their holiday wish lists early in the event a loved one inquires about their Christmas desires, others are more mysterious, giving few clues to their idea of the perfect, coveted gift. And frankly, men can be the worst at coming forward. Men also can be the worst offenders when it comes to taking care of themselves and visiting their healthcare providers regularly.
Well, listen-up ladies, I have great news. A new book just hit the shelves that can solve both problems. Edward Thompson Jr., a professor of sociology at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, and our own Dr. Len Kaye, professor of social work and director of the University of Maine Center on Aging have co-authored, “A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging.”
This book is the perfect gift for the man who seemingly has everything except maybe a handle on his own health. While written by professors, it is nonetheless very easy to read and quite comprehensive. So what makes this book so special?
“I was browsing a bookstore looking for books on men’s health care and realized there really weren’t any available,” said Kaye. “There were many books on women’s health but information for men was virtually nonexistent. So my colleague and I began extensive research over a four-year period and the result is ‘A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging.’ The goal is for men to stay smart, strong and active.”
This is true enough. Women have had years of support from the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” series by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective and Judy Norsigian. Now men have the same type of health reference volume that can be privately perused should they seek information. This book is in no way a substitute for doctors’ visits but it can provide pertinent material of a general nature.
The book is handily laid out in three sections. Part one, titled “Managing Our Lives,” covers staying active, eating well, men’s stress and relationships, among other things. The psychology of healthy aging is discussed in a chapter written with Dr. Clifford Singer. The authors write, “A man’s ego can be very reliant on projecting an image of strength and independence. Health issues of greatest concern to men include ailments that risk compromising independence and quality of life.” Sound familiar?
Part two covers “Mind and Body.” Here the necessity of sleep, a man’s appearance ranging from baldness to bunions, spirituality, alcohol use and its effects in an aging body, and holistic medicine.
And finally, part three gets into the nitty-gritty of a man’s health. Just a few of the offerings are: hearth health, memory loss, diabetes, sexual health, bones and joints, dental, vision and hearing, cancer, caregiving which is becoming a growing trend among men, and retirement — what do you do now?
The 23 chapters in in the book are designed to be read together or separately. “A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging” is available at BAM bookstore across from Bangor Mall and at amazon.com. It’s a worthwhile investment in your male loved ones’ health and life. Husbands, sons and anyone else you love will be sure to benefit from the wisdom between these pages.
Carol Higgins Taylor is the director of communications for Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For more information, call 941-2865, 800-432-7812 or go to eaaa.org