27 September 2023

We Need to Talk About Ageing: Essential conversations and practical advice to navigate the ageing journey with confidence

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Melissa Levi, Hachette Australia, $34.99.

Enlightening and understandable, We Need to Talk About Ageing is one book through which fear and uncertainty about the ageing journey will be replaced with knowledge, understanding and practical strategies.

As a clinical psychologist specialising in geriatrics, Melissa Levi has been specialising in older people’s mental health and dementia. Although she has spent the past decade working at one of Australia’s leading public hospitals, this book came into being in 2015 after her grandfather’s passing.

“… I also knew that it was my responsibility, as an ultimate act of love and remembrance, to tell my Zaida’s story, our family’s story, of ageing and dementia, of love and of loss.”

While getting older is inevitable, the experience doesn’t have to be overwhelming, or clouded with uncertainty or confusion. There is encouragement in understanding that as this book helps you to clarify your options, find your way through the aged-care maze, make informed, values-aligned decisions and ultimately experience greater meaning, joy and connection.

Melissa provides expert information on what to expect as you get older, how to identify symptoms of common medical and psychiatric conditions in later life, and, most importantly, what you can do and where to go for help. Melissa also shares practical strategies, tips and discussion prompts, so you and your family are equipped to have the big conversations about ageing and are empowered to plan for the future.

“I write this book as a witness who has seen firsthand that ageing and death are the ties that bind us all, knowing no race, gender, ethnicity or division; the ultimate equalisers. But perhaps most of all, I write this book as an optimist, hopeful that with the education of both mind and heart, we can walk the inevitable journey of ageing with confidence, grace, love and hope.”

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