Best-selling author Frances Fuller offers a unique outlook on aging based on her own experience. Her insights are penetrating and deal with issues that many seniors and their families are concerned about.
WILMINGTON, NC, February 05, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — We all like to think that somehow a new year allows us a fresh start. We reflect, set new goals and plan action steps. But is the new year actually new? Will anything change? What if we live in an assisted care community? Will anything be new? Frances Fuller, award winning author of “Helping Yourself Grow Old” addressed this subject in a recent post on her website. She wrote:
A new year is upon us, while I am still looking back.
Just a few months ago, in the laundry room, I met a new resident of the assisted care community. She was beautiful, her eyes such a friendly blue, her gray hair lying in soft waves, her smile lighting up that drab little room. She had some question about the dryer. And she, in her clothes so neat and classy, admired my jacket and claimed she would like to have it, if ever I didn’t want it anymore.
Here and there I met her. In the hall, the lounge. I liked her. We compared stories about how we inherited our old fashioned names.
One day, in the dining room, she opened the basket on her walker and showed me how she had equipped herself for every emergency. Sanitizer. Lip balm. Tissues. A roll of toilet paper and other items, mostly things we don’t talk about in polite company. We enjoyed a wonderful laugh.
Only a few days later she was untidy, disheveled and disoriented. After that I didn’t see her. I heard she fell. I heard she had been taken to “Memory Care.” And then this week her picture appeared in the “In Memoriam” corner. So soon. Too soon.
None of the things in her basket were about dying.
A year ago when 2022 was approaching, offering us hope that covid would go away and take with it a few of our problems, I didn’t quite realize how quickly people decline sometimes, with no pandemic needed. And this seems somehow relevant to thinking about the coming year.
Today already, trying to be courteous, I wished several people a Happy New Year.
But will the year be new? In any way at all?
Will we resolve any of our differences? Heal any wounds? Avoid any oncoming conflicts? Defeat any diseases? Get any younger? See something wonderful that we never saw before?
Or was the poet-philosopher of Ecclesiastes right when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun”?
Well, one of the things I finally understood this year is that “under the sun” means just that: from an earthly point of view. In the physical realm, that we know too well, the sun rises and sets and rises again without changing anything.
There is nothing new. This is the obvious, worldly and pessimistic view.
And this, according to the wise poet, is the reason one should remember her creator, remember before she is stooped and the lights dim and the songs muffled and she doesn’t even care.
So, the “new” year approaches, and what shall we pray for relevant members of our family or for us, the elderly in assisted living?
That we, all of us, like my beautiful friend with her walker, be prepared for every emergency? The failing of the body, the confusion of the mind?
Why not? We had better. There will be emergencies ahead for all of us. . .
Readers can see then entire piece and subscribe at her website at http://www.francesfullerauthor.com.
Frances Fuller’s book is unique among the many books on aging, because it is personal, while most such books are written from an academic point of view. Most are penned by sociologists, doctors, gerontologists, even the CEO of AARP, and one by a Catholic nun, Joan Chittister. Chittister’s book, ‘The Gift of Years’ is beautifully written, focusing on spiritual values and finding meaning in life. Chittister admits in the preface that she was only 70, which is the front edge of aging, and her book is somewhat abstract.
Atul Gawande’s book, ‘On Being Mortal’, relates medicine and old age, It enjoys high Amazon rankings, in the category of “the sociology of aging.” It contains a great deal of valuable scientific information and shows understanding of the physical and emotional needs of the elderly.
Frances Fuller’s book, ‘Helping Yourself Grow Old, Things I Said To Myself When I Was Almost Ninety’, is an up-close and very personal encounter with aging. It is an uncontrived and firsthand look at her own daily experiences: wrestling with physical limitations, grief, loneliness, fears, and the decisions she has made about how to cope with these and keep becoming a better person. She faces regrets and the need to forgive herself and others and is determined to live in a way that blesses her children and grandchildren.
Frances deals with many common, universal but sometimes private issues in an open, conversational tone. Her confessions and decisions invite self-searching and discussion. She tries to make sense of her own past and to understand her responsibility to younger generations. In the process she shares her daily life, enriched with memories from her fascinating experiences. Her stories and her voice — fresh, honest, irresistible — keep the reader eager for more. The end result is a book that helps create a detailed map through the challenging terrain of old age.
The result of this intimate narrative is that readers laugh, cry and identify with her mistakes and problems. Reviewers have called the book, “unique,” “honest,” “witty,” “poignant,” “challenging” and “life-changing.”
For these reasons it is a book unlike any other book on aging you will ever read. The book can serve as a primer on what lies in store for all of us, from someone who is working through many of these issues. While the book is a perfect fit for book clubs, there are many other individuals and groups who could benefit from the information and ideas in the book:
Those approaching retirement
People who are currently retired
Children of aging parents
Those who have lost a spouse
Retirement community discussion groups
Church groups (men and women)
and a host of others. For group discussions, Fuller has made a set of discussion questions available at her website at http://www.FrancesFullerAuthor.com.
Readers have lavished praise on the new book. One Amazon review stated, “I find myself thinking,’I need to read this again and take notes!’ It’s full of wisdom, humor, and grace. I also have committed to rereading it annually – it’s that important!” Another said, “There is valuable life experience in this book. Helping Yourself Grow Old is truly is a book for all ages, and one not to be missed.” Another stated, “Beautifully written book telling timeless truths, for both the old and the young. Highly recommend this book for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and learn wisdom from someone who has lived so much life.”
Frances’ prior work, ‘In Borrowed Houses’, has taken three industry awards and has achieved Bestseller status. Frances Fuller was the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 ’50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading’ Book Awards. It received the bronze medal for memoir in the Illumination Book Awards in 2014. Northern California Publishers and Authors annually gives awards for literature produced by residents of the area. In 2015 ‘In Borrowed Houses’ received two prizes: Best Non-fiction and Best Cover.
Critics have also praised ‘In Borrowed Houses.’ A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards called ‘In Borrowed Houses’ ” . . a well written book full of compassion . . . a captivating story . . . “. Another reviewer described the book as “Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching . . .”. Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, ” . . . western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope.”
Frances has shared stories about her life in an interview with Women Over 70, and a recording is available on their Facebook page.
Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. The full text of her latest article is available at her website. Fuller’s book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from ‘In Borrowed Houses’ is available at http://www.payhip.com/francesfuller. Frances Fuller also blogs on other issues relating to the Middle East on her website at http://www.inborrowedhouseslebanon.com.
About Frances Fuller:
Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.
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