Everyone I know keeps getting older. I am on my march towards middle age and have had no serious worries about my health. Older adults have to face the continual breakdown physically and mentally. Often this is the result of poor preventative care and unhealthy habits in earlier stages of life. As they age, they are dependent on medical professionals, family and church for care of their well being. Failure to plan ahead means, that seniors may receive expensive treatments they may not have wanted and family members may be forced to make difficult medical decisions for them.
These are some of the issues that Christopher Bogosh addresses in The Golden Years: Healthy Aging and the Older Adult. Bogosh is a registered nurse who has worked in hospice care. He also has attended seminary and has worked in pastoral ministry. This dual emphasis on pastoral and physical care pervades the book.
As a nurse who works with an older population, Bogosh is well aware of the health issues that older people face. His book explores healthy living, preventative care, healthcare management, and common and chronic health problems. He lays out the resources available to seniors under medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. He also underscores the necessity of planning ahead (i.e. writing a living will and talking to family members about your medical care before you totally deteriorate).
Physical care and pastoral care go hand in hand. Part of caring for the senior soul is to make sure that their psychical well being is well cared for. Bogosh says this part really well. He also has an eye for seeing seniors ‘live out “the “golden years’ with the Glory of God in view” (125). Bogosh sees Christianity as answering the “then what?” question, as in “What happens after you die?” At the end of his last chapter he writes, ” Imagine enduring chronic health problems and a sensory disorders for many years only to die and go to hell–awful thought but according to biblical based Christianity we have to face this reality too” (124). So a big part of Bogosh’s wisdom for pastoral care is focused on the senior’s eternal destination.
I agree with Bogosh that the truth of our eternal destiny is especially poignant when ministering to an older population cognizant of their limitations and mortality. What I wish was more explicit in Bogosh’s book was a section on spiritual health and older adults. Our seniors need “strength for today” as well as “bright hope for tomorrow.” I think that the dots could have been connected a little clearer between the physical medical care and spiritual care.
I learned a lot from this book and I think that people who minister to and among the elderly will gain valuable insights. I have been privileged in the past to work with this population. I did visitation ministry with a group of seniors in urban Atlanta. As I sat and visited with these seniors, I was privileged to share in their struggles and pray for them. I also heard testimonies of decades of faithfully depending on God through all life’s circumstances. In our care for seniors, we have as much to learn from them as we have to give. Bogosh’s book does a great job of helping us frame the issues around health care and the elderly. If we follow his advice we will love our old well in service. But we honor them when we see that they still have gifts to give. Well this isn’t the emphasis in Bogosh’s book, he does share anecdotes of seniors he has known and loved well and learned from.
Good Samaritan Books appears to be Bogosh’s own publishing venture (making this a self published book). One of the problems among many self published books, is that they suffer for lack of an editor. Not this book. It is well written and well executed. I give this book four stars.