Monday, November 12, 2018

Book Review: 'Rejuvenaging: The Art and Science of Growing Older with Enthusiasm' by Dr. Ron Kaiser

Philadelphia author/psychologist Dr. Ron Kaiser has penned a new book that continues to indicate his positive attitude about living and positive thinking. His other book is WHAT CAN GO RIGHT?: THE THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO MAKING GOOD THINGS HAPPEN¬¬— a manual to help the reader lead life to its fullest in a proactive and positive manner by overcoming problems from the past by immediately focusing on building the emotional strength to take charge of the future.

In a well-paced preface Dr. Kaiser offers his own journey – ‘When I first started working as a school counselor fifty-five years ago, I assumed that I would continue to do similar work for about forty years and then retire. I didn’t know what being an older adult would be like exactly, but I knew it would be a relaxed and passive time of life. Over the years, as I transitioned from working in schools to working in community agencies to working within the health system, and I transitioned from a master’s level counselor to a Ph.D. psychologist, and I started referring to those with whom I work as patients rather than clients, I also underwent a transformation in my thinking about old age. While I’ve always considered myself to be a really good psychotherapist, in the past couple of decades, I’ve become increasingly influenced by the relatively new field of positive psychology as well as the dynamic research dealing with neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to produce positive change and growth throughout the lifespan. Both of those influences share a common psychological core: the belief in our ability to effect positive change by the activities and values that we choose to pursue. That new knowledge has produced profound results! While recognizing that some people are medically, psychologically, or situationally limited, we now know that most of us can choose how we are going to age. This book presents a case for the following statements: Activity is better than passivity, and planning psychologically for our senior years is as important as planning financially for them. Both active retirement and choosing to work past a normal retirement age are equally valid choices. Most important of all, growing older is not a spectator sport: it requires active participation for maximum benefit. Maintaining a healthy activity level is not a haphazard process. Based upon widespread research as well as more than a half-century of work in the field, I have developed an approach that I call Goal-Achieving Psychology (GAP), which bridges the gap between thinking and doing.’

Many readers will breathe an ‘A-Ha’ moment while reading Dr. Kaiser’s supportive recommendations about life in the Golden Years lane. Now in his early eighties, our guide began his Goal-Achieving Psychology in his seventies – writing e-books, launching The Mental Health Gym, and reaching out to senior citizens in workshops and seminars online and in person. ‘My major source of pride, however, is the fact that I lead one of the most active lifestyles of anyone I know, regardless of age. I am committed to staying fit by eating healthy, regularly going to the gym, and taking a yoga class with my colleagues at the headache center. In addition to taking part in many other recreational and cultural events, my wife and I subscribe to and attend four concert and lecture series.’

This book is a positive infusion of life’s possibilities with aging. He discusses quite frankly the concept of ‘getting old’ as being a positive instead of a negative phrase. Life begins to blossom in our fifties and the process of what he calls Rejuvenation is the body of the discussion of this text – both scientifically defined and explained as in Neuroplasticity (the brain can change throughout the lifespan) and Positive Psychology. Dr. Kaiser presents seven keys to taking ownership of our life: ‘It all starts with the Mindset, Rejuvenate Your Intellect, The Rejuvenators Guide to Healthy Eating, Owning Your Body, Being a Social Being, Doing Good Makes You Feel good, and Appreciate the Good That Permeates Your Life.’

With his overriding concept of accepting our age without feeling the need to attach any negative connotations to it Dr Kaiser has managed to lead the parade of making ‘feeling my age’ a meaningless expression. As he closes his proactive conversation and teaching he states, ‘Rejuvenaging presents a more positive, strength-based view of aging. If I had known how much fun old age could be, I’d have grown older faster. I’m happy to be feeling my age, and I hope that you are too. ‘

For any person approaching life’s golden years this book is one of the most exhilarating, flag waving, positive sessions to launch Rejuvenaging and enter the Golden Years happily and with energy. A brilliant transfusion for an otherwise potentially chronically tired sector of our population. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, November 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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