VOLUME 19 | JULY–AUGUST 2012 | IGSW at Boston University

From the Director

'Fighting for Our Health'

Summer Reading This Year: Not the Time to Relax

By Scott Miyake Geron

Fighting for Our HealthNormally, I like to match my reading to the mood of the season; for the long, lazy days of summer, I indulge my interest in lost or imagined worlds. Not this time. This year I can't relax. Not when so much is at stake for our country. For this summer, I recommend reading Robert Kirsch's inspiring Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States (Rockefeller Institute Press, 2011). Unlike the fantasy heroes of my usual summer reading, the thousands of people like Kirsch who have worked so long for healthcare reform are real heroes worth celebrating. Without these activists, Obama's signing of the Affordable Care Act would not have happened, as the book shows.... Read more

Book cover image: Rockefeller Institute Press

Issues and Views

Effective translational research

Noted Gerontologist Makes It Big as Advice Author

By Mary Johnson

Karl Pillemer, a professor at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research in Aging, has long been renowned in gerontological circles for his work applying research to practice and for his scholarly publications of his studies of later life. But over the past six months, he has become a celebrity author in a more popular genre.

Pillemer has been traveling the TV and radio talk-show circuit with his book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, which has received rave reviews, sparked in-depth coverage from PBS, The New York Times, and local media, and is a hit with readers. For The Huffington Post, Pillemer played Dear Abby to fans who wrote in.

Pillemer's 30 Lessons for Living is the result of more than 1,000 interviews he conducted with Americans over the age of 65. He recently talked to IGSW News about why he wrote the book, his reaction to the surprising popular response, and how not only the general public, but also service providers who work with elders, can use the lessons learned.... Read more

Photo of Karl Pillemer courtesy Hudson Street Press

Summer viewing

Palme d'Or Winner Explores the Limits and
Power of Love in Late Life

Reviewed by Olive Tan

Amour (Love) is a wrenching story about an octogenarian Parisian couple, George and Anne, who are forced to face mortality following Anne's stroke. The French-language drama, directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke (in photo, extreme left), last month received the Palme d'Or, the highest prize awarded at the annual Cannes Film Festival. Playing George and Anne are Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva (in photo, extreme right and center, respectively). Movie-goers have seen the well-known actors (born in 1930 and 1927, respectively) age on the screen over the years.... Read more about this unflinching examination of old age, a subject that many filmmakers still ignore.

Photo credit: © Denis Manin/Les Films du Losange

IGSW News Readers' Question Time

What Are You Reading This Summer?

We asked four professionals in the field of aging what they're reading this summer and why. They are Carmelita Tursi, director of inclusion at AARP; Suzanne Kunkel, director of Scripps Gerontology Center; Crissy Liu, gerontologist and entrepreneur; and Darrick Lam, aging services program specialist with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services–Administration for Community Living. Their answers provide some intriguing ideas for this summer and beyond. Here's what they said.

[From left to right]
Photo of Carmelita Tursi courtesy AARP
Photo of Suzanne Kunkel courtesy Miami University
Photo courtesy Crissy Liu
Photo courtesy Darrick Lam

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In Our Mailbox

Aging and Disability

To IGSW News:

The combination [of aging and disability] is a great mistake ("DHHS Combines Aging and Disability Agencies," IGSW News, May–June 2012). The thrust of services to the elderly should be on preventing disability as far as possible and providing necessary services as appropriate. We should not assume that most elderly people are frail and disabled.

Howard A. Palley
Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Fellow,
Institute for Human Services Policy
School of Social Work
University of Maryland

Fan Mail

To IGSW News:

I LOVE the current issue (IGSW News, May–June 2012). Is it available in a PDF form so I can print out the whole thing? Thank you.

Linda Lacke
Senior Project Manager
MGH Patient Care Services Administration
Boston, Mass.

Editor's note: PDFs of the e-newsletter from the March–April 2012 issue onwards, and the online version of all back issues, are available on the Past Issues page at