Serving Seniors? 9 Reasons to use Positive Aging books

Reason number one? A collection labeled “Honoring Older Adults–Positive Aging Books for all ages” sends a clear message to all, no matter their age—this organization respects elders.

Recently I’ve noted that about one third of those following A is for Aging on Facebook are organizations serving older adults. Have any of you come up with creative ideas to share?Please let us know in the comments section.

A collection of Positive Aging books can be a terrific tool. Whatever the mission statement, the follow-through can be a challenge, despite the many caring people that work in organizations serving older adults. Respect for our elders begins with insights into the realities and gifts of getting older.

My first real jobs were in long term care years ago and I’ve worked with older adults for decades in a variety of settings. Recently my mother lived in an assisted living facility for several years and I gained another perspective—that of a visiting family member. The little things make a big difference. I saw what families did together when they visited and the resources available to them. I most definitely noticed the interactions between staff and the older adults they served.51ClTCN2T6L._SX300_

Interactions between generations–what is elderspeak?

Lately I’ve seen increased media attention given to a certain pattern those interactions fall into so frequently.  A recent letter to Dear Abby said it so well, “…please don’t talk to me as if I were a 2-year-old or a puppy.” This condescending manner of speech often includes endearments like “hon” or “dear” and those using it are usually striving for rapport and kindliness, not realizing it actually causes harm to older adults.

Researcher Becca Levy Ph.D. of Yale University calls it elderspeak and she finds it can affect self-esteem, mood and even competence in older people on the receiving end. An article in the New York Times shares the opinions of Dr. Levy, healthcare professionals, and also older individuals. Personally, this quote really resonates with me:

“As I get older, I don’t want to be recognized for my age. I want to be recognized for my accomplishments, for my wisdom.”

Picture books are powerful and I believe Positive Aging picture books can be a tool we use to generate that kind of recognition. We can tweak the conversations between generations starting with an older character portrayed positively in a book to be enjoyed by all ages.+-+214068192_140

The 9 Reasons I promised:

  1. A collection labeled “Positive Aging books for all ages” sends a clear message of honoring elders.

2.  Picture books are bright, colorful and engaging—perfect for sparking conversations between the generations.

3.  They give parents, grandparents and great grandparents many opportunities to create positive attitudes to growing older in young kids.

4.  They can generate terrific discussions about aging with a group of older adults.

5.  Positive Aging picture books can build self-esteem in the older adults you serve.

6.  They can also educate staff about all elders have to offer.

7.  These special books spark the sharing of memories and values between generations.

8.  The positive messages are easily absorbed by all ages.

9.  They fight ageism one person at a time—improving attitudes and  physical health.

_GiveAPictureBook-v2-600November is Picture Book Month–a celebration of the print picture book. Check out Why Picture Books are Important by talented illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

See how some organizations are using Little Free Libraries to spread the word.


Have you considered how Positive Aging Picture Books might help you in your mission to serve older adults?    I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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2 Responses to Serving Seniors? 9 Reasons to use Positive Aging books

  1. Lyndsey, What a great idea. Could be especially useful for Caregivers. Thank you so much for sharing.

    In good Health,
    Anne Burnell

    • lindseymcd says:

      Thank you Anne, and thanks for your addition–I think the books would be wonderful for caregivers! All the best to you and please keep me posted on how you use Positive Aging children’s books.

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