If age is Another Country, then we must all learn to speak its language.
As our parents and grandparents grow older, it's hard to find the words to talk
about medicine, loneliness, love, forgetfulness, or selling the house. We need a
language that bridges the gap between generations and takes into account that our
elders can be just as reluctant to ask for or even accept our time and our efforts
as we are eager to understand the wants and needs of people who lived before
television, Freudian psychology, e-mail, and the first trip to the moon.
There are more older people in America today than ever before. They are our parents
and grandparents, our aunts and uncles and in-laws. They are living longer, but in
a culture that has come to worship youth. They grew up in real communities, whether
rural or urban, where people looked out for one another, and where children and
grandchildren lived nearby. Today, families have dispersed. Communities have broken
down. Older people are isolated. Adults in two-career families struggle to divide
their time among their kids, their jobs, and their aging parents. This is the rough
terrain that Mary Pipher has chosen to explore.
Another Country is a field guide to this foreign landscape -- a help
and a resource. Writing from her experience as a therapist and drawing from
interviews with families and older people, Mary Pipher offers us scenarios to
bridge the communication gap. And in these poignant and hopeful stories of real
children, adults, and elders are the secrets to mutual understanding. With her
inimitable combination of respect and realism, Pipher gets inside the minds,
hearts, and bodies of men and women in their seventies, eighties and nineties.
And we begin to understand that the landscape of age is truly that of Another Country.