* The Age of Dignity by Ai-Jen Poo


The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America is written by an activist for domestic workers, and indeed the most successful part of the book are the portraits of senior care workers that show them as skilled and devoted individuals, capable of transforming the lives of their patients.

Alas, the rest of the (slim) book would have benefitted from a good editor. There are lengthy discussions of how difficult and costly it is to find elder care when one tightly-written chapter would suffice (and with so many repeats of slightly different numbers, the reader starts doubting them). There are, of course, repeated calls to pay elder care providers better — but the author seems to forget that her repeated assurances that home care is cheaper than nursing home care fall apart if home care workers were paid the more generous wages they undoubtedly deserve! So the author’s thesis is that “government”must step in and pay, which seems to forget that “government” is us, and the examples she gives of seniors unwilling to spend their savings on their own care underscore the madness of  looking for miracle funding. Yes, we have a problem, and this book will not resolve it.

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