Being Mortal

Title: Being Mortal

Recommendation: 7.5/10


What does it look like to maintain a high quality of life while you age?

The fact is, nursing homes are often designed to address societal goals, free up hospital beds, and remove caretaking burdens on the family. They are not designed around the needs of the people who reside in them. 

There are various approaches discussed in this book. For example, Chase Memorial Nursing Home adopted 100 parakeets, 4 dogs, and noticed the # prescriptions fell to half of the “control” nursing home. Plus, deaths fell 15%, they hypothesize because people had a sense of purpose.

But ultimately, identifying a path with the best chance of maintaining a life you find worthwhile is a personal question that varies for each of us.


Damage is done when limits aren’t acknowledged.

For clinicians, there is nothing more threatening than to be a patient with a problem you can’t solve.

The courage required of the aging or sick is 1) confront the reality of mortality 2) seek out the truth of what is to be feared and what is to be hoped.

Informative medicine is when you supply up-to-date knowledge and skills, with the patient providing decisions.

Old age is a continuous series of losses.

60 year olds in U.S. have lost 33% of teeth, by age 85 no teeth at all.

Courage: strength in the face of knowledge of what is to be feared or hoped. Wisdom is prudent strength.

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