Aging with a Plan: How a Little Thought Today Can Vastly Improve Your Tomorrow
By Sharona Hoffman
Praeger (May 2015)
What is the book’s mission?
This book offers a concise, comprehensive resource for middle-aged readers who are facing the prospects of their own aging and of caring for elderly relatives—an often overwhelming task for which little in life prepares us. Everyone ages, and nearly everyone will also experience having to support aging relatives. Being prepared is vital to being able to make good decisions when challenges and crises arise. Aging with a Plan addresses a breadth of topics that are relevant to aging and caring for the elderly, analyzing each thoroughly and providing up-to-date, practical advice. It can serve as a thorough resource read start-to-finish or as a quick-reference guide on specific topics that are relevant to each reader’s circumstances and needs.
Why did you write the book?
The book grew out of a very difficult period in my life. During 18 months in 2013 and 2014 both my parents died, my mother-in-law died, and in October of 2013, my husband, Andy, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 55. As I went through these experiences, I learned a lot about the challenges of growing older, getting sick, and facing the end of life. As a Professor of Law and Bioethics, I already knew something about theories and doctrine related to many of these issues, but there is nothing like life experience to enliven your knowledge and imprint lessons on your mind. I realized that I had a lot of information to share, and I wanted to take my professional and personal experiences and put them to good use helping others. Writing this book seemed like a natural choice.
What topics do you cover?
Using an interdisciplinary approach, Aging with a Plan: How a Little Thought Today Can Vastly Improve Your Tomorrow develops recommendations for building sustainable social, legal, medical, and financial support systems that can promote a good quality of life throughout the aging process. Chapters address critical topics such as retirement savings and expenses, residential settings, legal planning, the elderly and driving, long-term care, coordinated medical care, and end-of-life decisions. For example, the book answers the following questions:
- What legal documents should you be sure to have?
- What expenses should you anticipate in retirement and how do you save for them?
- Should you buy long-term care insurance?
- What residential settings should you consider as you grow older?
- How do you make good decisions about long-term care such as nursing homes, assisted living, and in-home care?
- What do you need to know about medical care as you or your loved ones grow older?
- How should you approach conversations about the sensitive topic of safe driving with elderly loved ones?
- What options exist for end-of-life care, and how do you make sure that your wishes will be followed?
The author combines analysis of recent research on the challenges of aging with engaging anecdotes and personal observations. Readers in their 40s, 50s, and beyond will greatly benefit from learning about aging in the 21st century and from investing some effort in planning for their own old age and that of their loved ones.
What are the book’s primary features?
- It combines thorough scholarly research and analysis with engaging anecdotes and personal observations
- The book constitutes a “one-stop shopping” resource on the subject of planning for aging. It covers a broad range of topics and offers a wealth of practical advice.
- Aging with a Plan presents an interdisciplinary approach that draws on my background in law and bioethics and my personal experience with health care and the elderly
- It provides a preparedness checklist at the end of each chapter that summarizes take-away messages and outlines practical next steps for the reader
Cleveland City Club Lecture [58 minutes], December 15, 2015,
CWRU Interview [9 minutes]
“Driven by personal experience and a respected career in bioethics and law, Sharona Hoffman provides us a vibrant, very usable chapter-by-chapter guide, inclusive of actionable checklists to prepare for the next phases of our multifaceted phases of our lives as we experience the 40s to 80s. Her work blends scholarly knowledge and action steps to anticipate the best informed aging that will allow us to age with grace as well as to support our loved ones who may experience the vagaries of aging with the best preparedness and confidence.”
–Jennie Chin Hansen, CEO, American Geriatrics Society; former president of the AARP
“This is a very practical book full of useful information. The book is particularly useful for Baby Boomers dealing with their own elderly parents. The author expertly uses case studies involving her own family to teach lessons relevant to any family. The author, who is a noted health law expert, bases her recommendations on solid research. But in addition to solid research and useful facts, the book contains many practical tips.”
–David English, Professor of Law, University of Missouri; Chair, ABA Commission on Law and Aging
“Outstanding advice that will make everyone (EVERYONE) younger–learning about these choices with this excellent reference beforehand will definitely make stressful events more manageable.”
–Michael F. Roizen, M.D., author of This is Your Do-Over