21 Must-Read Books on Aging & Getting Older

Updated

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You might not think that a book about aging would be the most gripping read — but they can actually be hilarious.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Here are some of the most helpful books we’ve rounded up about aging — from helpful to hysterical, you’ll be able to learn the most you possibly can from these must-read books.

Best Books About Aging Parents

Your relationship with your parents doesn’t have to become delicate when they grow older. If you are proactive, you’ll be able to address matters sooner than later.

1. Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s by B. Smith and Dan Gasby

Before I Forget is written from the perspective of a married couple. B. has Alzheimer's, and her husband, Dan, is her caregiver.

They cover exactly what you can expect and how to handle it. You can read our picks for more books on dementia if you're looking for more.

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2. The Eldercare Handbook: Difficult Choices, Compassionate Solutions by Stella Henry and Ann Convery

The Eldercare Handbook is for children who have to learn to navigate elder parental care.

The author answers tough questions about how to manage the endless medical and financial needs — including how and when to move your parent into end-of-life care.

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3. A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents — and Ourselves by Jane Gross

A Bittersweet Season offers frank observations about navigating the difficult Medicaid system in the United States. 

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4. The Caregiving Season: Finding Grace to Honor Your Aging Parents by Jane Daly

One daughter explores a faith-based journey of care for her mother with honesty and love.

It's not going to be easy to tell your mom she can't drive anymore. But in The Caregiving Season, Jane Daly offers ways that you can address this and other tough topics with patience. You can read our picks for the best caregiving books if you're looking for something similar.

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5. The Family Guide to Aging Parents: Answers to Your Legal, Financial and Healthcare Questions by Carolyn Rosenblatt

The Family Guide to Aging Parents is a great resource to help you plan, protect, and understand your parents' needs as they grow older.

The guiding perspectives of an RN and an attorney give insight into both legal and palliative care.

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ยป MORE: Being an executor is hard work. Use our planner to help you stay on top of things.

 

Best Books About Aging in Place

It takes a community to help seniors flourish happily in place. With aging in place, the right policies and the right frame of mind means that more seniors will be able to stay at home longer.

6. Aging in Rural Places: Policies Programs, and Professional Practices by Kristina Hash Ph.D., MSW, Elaine Jurkowski MSW, PhD, and John Krout, PhD

Aging in Rural Places looks at the policies and problems aging elders face in rural America.

From lack of care to lack of funds or plans, generations of Americans experience voids right when they are most vulnerable.

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7. Elderburbia: Aging with a Sense of Place in Rural America by Philip B. Stafford

Elderburbia is not just for families. To make your community more welcoming to older generations, this book is a must-read.

You'll discover the research that suggests why elderly people should stay in their homes and hometowns. You'll also read about the innovative companies that can make that happen.

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8. How to Age in Place: Planning for a Happy, Independent, and Financially Secure Retirement by Mary A. Languirand PhD and Robert F. Bornstein PhD

How to Age in Place offers advice on how to help your parents remain in their homes as long as possible.

You'll be making a checklist to ensure they get the right care and have the right services available as they age.

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9. Aging in Place: How to Live at Home Safely and Independently for as Long as Possible by Stephanie Watson and Suzanne Salamon

Inside this 49-page Harvard Medical School pamphlet, you’ll learn how to stay in your home for as long as you can — no matter where you are.

Aging in Place also offers quick tips on navigating Medicare so that you get the care you need.

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10. I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality and Life Transformation by Ilchi Lee

Renowned author Ilchi Lee offers inspiration to keep you on your feet and moving until the age of 120 in I've Decided to Live 120 Years.

You don't have to just grow old, you can also achieve a passion and purpose, too.

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Best Funny Books About Getting Old

Laughter will keep you young. A sense of humor will set you free. Here are our top picks for books about getting old.

11. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old by Hendrik Groen and Hester Velmans

Are you a spirited prankster at heart? Then The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is calling your name. Hendrik Groen discovers a few ways to liven up his neighborhood.

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12. Im Old So Why Aren’t I Wise?: Snarky Senior in the Sunshine State by Erica Manfred

Erica Manfred is unafraid to speak her mind or cause a little ruckus when needed in I'm Old So Why Aren't I Wise? Plus, she's filled with a charming wit and the vigor of a teenager.

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13. Flip-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts on Aging I Remembered to Write Down by Cindy Eastman

 

Cindy Eastman offers charismatic, raw honesty. Written in short essay form, Flip-Flops After 50 is about Eastman's newfound perspective and attitude.

Since turning 50, she revels in life, aging, and uncomfortable situations.

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14. If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t) by Betty White

Anything by actor Betty White is a good read. If You Ask Me offers new material, plus the same generous, sweet humor for which she's known and loved.

White's latest book is nothing but candid — you won't be disappointed.

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15. Today I Am a Ma’am: and Other Musings on Life, Beauty, and Growing Older by Valerie Harper and Catherine Whitney

 

Being a comedian gave Valerie Harper more freedom to age than other leading ladies. In her book Today I Am a Ma'am, you'll discover more one-liners and quips than stories.

But the wit and wisdom of one of our favorites still shine through.

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Best Memoirs About Aging

Wisdom comes in many packages. It also comes from unexpected sources. 

16. The Long Goodbye: Memories of My Father by Patti Davis

The Long Goodbye is the story of a woman watching her father slowly disappear. It's both a loving and a tender tribute.

Although he was well-known to all of us as an actor and then as a president, Ronald Reagan was Davis’ dad. 

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17. Prime Time by Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda, activist, actor, and fitness maven, focuses on self-discovery and a continued journey for truth in Prime Time. You'll see why she's an inspiration to so many.

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18. Live Long and… What I Learned Along the Way by William Shatner

How to live a long life? Don't die. It's a simple enough answer and it's also a recognition of the road traveled and the challenges managed.

Live Long and... is for fans of the original “Star Trek,” — you’ll love this overview of the life of a television icon.

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19. Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age — and Other Unexpected Adventures by Reeve Lindbergh

Reeve Lindbergh has turned 60. Her challenges are a little different than most, but her writing style and self-deprecating humor in Forward from Here make her relatable.

The book is even more engaging if you appreciate historical references and insight about the famous Lindbergh family.

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20. Getting Over Growing Older: A Humorous Memoir of Discovering the Challenges of Aging by Brigitte Nioche

Not ready to succumb to old age and still love to be stylish? You'll love Getting Over Growing Older. From the perspective of a New York model and fashionista, you'll learn how to stay young for as long as possible.

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21. The Secret of Life: A Memoir of Getting Younger by Dr. Zeev Gilkis

The Secret of Life reminds you that the best way to keep your mind fit is to keep your body fit. If you want to stay young and healthy like Gilkis, then the key is to get outside and get physical.

If you're looking for more recommendations, read our guide on the best memoirs for young adults.

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Don’t Fight it — Enjoy it

Aging will happen, and the best way to approach aging is with compassion, humor, and some positivity. These books can help you or a loved one gain some excellent perspective.

If you're looking for more recommendations on embracing aging, check out our guides to the best magazines for retirees and what to put on your retirement bucket list.

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