If age is Another Country, then we must all learn to speak its language. As our parents and grandparents grow older, it's hard to find the words to talk about medicine, loneliness, love, forgetfulness, or selling the house. We need a language that bridges the gap between generations and takes into account that our elders can be just as reluctant to ask for or even accept our time and our efforts as we are eager to understand the wants and needs of people who lived before television, Freudian psychology, e-mail, and the first trip to the moon.
There are more older people in America today than ever before. They are our parents and grandparents, our aunts and uncles and in-laws. They are living longer, but in a culture that has come to worship youth. They grew up in real communities, whether rural or urban, where people looked out for one another, and where children and grandchildren lived nearby. Today, families have dispersed. Communities have broken down. Older people are isolated. Adults in two-career families struggle to divide their time among their kids, their jobs, and their aging parents. This is the rough terrain that Mary Pipher has chosen to explore.
Another Country is a field guide to this foreign landscape -- a help and a resource. Writing from her experience as a therapist and drawing from interviews with families and older people, Mary Pipher offers us scenarios to bridge the communication gap. And in these poignant and hopeful stories of real children, adults, and elders are the secrets to mutual understanding. With her inimitable combination of respect and realism, Pipher gets inside the minds, hearts, and bodies of men and women in their seventies, eighties and nineties. And we begin to understand that the landscape of age is truly that of Another Country.