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An expert on elder justice maps the challenges of aging, how things go wrong, and presents powerful tools we can use to forge better long lives for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
As tens of millions of Americans are living longer lives, longevity is creating challenges that cut across race, class, and gender. Caregivers help older relatives for “free,” but with high costs to themselves in time, money, jobs, and health. Scammers target countless seniors. The institutions built to protect older people—like nursing homes and guardianship—too often harm them instead. And epidemics of isolation and loneliness make older people vulnerable to all sorts of harm.
In The Measure of Our Age, elder justice expert and MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, M.T. Connolly investigates the systems we count on to protect us as we age. Weaving first-person accounts, her own experience, and shocking investigative reporting, she exposes a reality that has long been hidden and sometimes actively covered up. But her investigation also reveals reasons for hope within everyone’s grasp.
Connolly’s strategies and action plans for navigating the many challenges of aging will appeal to a wide range of readers—adult children caring for aging parents; policymakers trying to do the right thing; and, should we be so lucky as to live to old age, all of us. This book transforms how we think about aging.
About the Author
M. T. Connolly is widely recognized as a leading national expert on elder justice, for which she was honored with a MacArthur “Genius” award. She was the founding head of the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative; the architect of the Elder Justice Act, the first comprehensive federal law to address the issue; and the lead author of the Elder Justice Roadmap that guides federal, state, and local priorities. She lives in Washington, DC.
“A book that deserves wide attention and discussion among aging readers and those who care for them.” —Kirkus
“This is a brilliant, urgent, and much-needed book that will occupy a special place on my bookshelves. In a rapidly aging country, the clear-eyed wisdom alone of The Measure of Our Age would make it exceptional, but M.T. Connolly also happens to be the rare expert who can write movingly and beautifully. I learned from this book, I loved it, and I’m sure I’ll be reaching for it again and again.”—David Finkel, Pulitzer Prize-winner, and author of Thank You for Your Service
“Our current systems are failing older people and their caregivers. This book reveals the new realities and challenges of aging today with invaluable insights to help us live both long and well. The Measure of Our Age is a humane and hopeful guide for anyone navigating the complexities of aging and care—who, in time, will include all of us.”—Ai-jen Poo, President of the National Domestic Workers Alliance & Executive Director of Caring Across Generations, author of The Age of Dignity
“With a lawyer’s understanding of complex systems, a caregiver’s heart, and an advocate’s passion, Connolly has written a book that individuals, organizations, and government leaders can use to make aging easier, better, and safer for all of us. An essential addition to this universal topic.”—Louise Aronson, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Elderhood, and Professor of Geriatrics, UCSF
“This book is a revelation. It invites us to change how we think about caring, about aging, and about how we spend our time. With deep knowledge, humor, and heart, The Measure of Our Age shows us how to grapple with the hard parts of aging as well as its unrealized potential. This profound life-enhancing invitation is one Connolly extends to us all." —Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx
“M.T. Connolly is without doubt our nation’s preeminent to guide to aging well. The Measure of Our Age is a singular testament to the power of purpose, meaning, connection, interdependence, and, above all, love. All that, plus a roadmap to fixing the systemic problems that make aging so much harder than it should be. A compelling read, from start to finish.”—Marc Freedman, author, How to Live Forever, and Founder and CoCEO, CoGenerate
“How can we assure safety, dignity, and good care for people as they age? Building on her extraordinary career as a leading advocate for the rights and protection of older people, M. T. Connolly provides real answers to this question. The Measure of Our Age seamlessly blends compelling stories of unforgettable individuals with careful research and inspired policy analysis. If you are looking to unravel the complexities of aging today, Connolly is the person you want by your side. The Measure of Our Age is a unique combination of profound insight, fresh ideas, and lived experience that should be read by everyone negotiating life in an aging society – that is, all of us.”—Karl Pillemer, Bestselling author of 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, and Professor of Human Development at Cornell University