Gerontology A Good Age by Alex Comfort

An excerpt from the book A Good Age by Alex Comfort a look at senior citizens and the elderly, specifically a look at agism.

A GOOD AGE by Alex Comfort. New York: Crown Publishers, 1976.

About the Book: Written by one of the founders of modern gerontology, this book is an informative guide to life during the later years. It gives information about health problems, the aging process, and sex, and plenty of advice on how to deal with families, retirement, leisure time, and bereavement. Although he admits that older people in our society are an oppressed minority. Dr. Comfort affirms that it is possible for them to lead active and useful lives free of the false fears that have become attached to the idea of "old age." This is an important book for anyone who is now old or ever plans to be.

From the Book:

Agism is the notion that people cease to be people, cease to be the same people or become people of a distinct and inferior kind, by virtue of having lived a specified number of years.

Brain. The human brain does not shrink, wilt, perish or deteriorate with age. It normally continues to function well through as many as nine decades.

Doctors. In old age a good physician can be your most valuable ally. If, on the other hand, you find someone who thinks that in the natural order you have to be infirm, crazy, impotent or the like, by virtue of chronological age, change doctors.

Gerontology will not abolish old age; it will make it happen later. The extra years, unless we persist in clock-watching in defiance of all reason, will be years of extra vigor, not dependence. Old age itself will not be longer, only later.

Leisure is a con. It should mean time when you do what you yourself want to do. It gets sold as part of the unperson package, as time in which you are expected to do trivial and useless things for which you have to pay money.

Living in Sin is a highly satisfactory solution, at any age, to loneliness and is in favor of sexuality and mutual support if marriage penalizes you financially or if you prefer it.

Pulling Rank is one of the pleasures of age to which you are entitled, so swallow what you have learned about modesty and nonassertion and use it.

Retirement. Two weeks is about the ideal length of time to retire.

Sex. Older people are and always have been sexually active, but hey are getting less embarrassed about it as the culture gets less uptight about sexuality generally.

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