The Big Move: Life Between the Turning Points

We have very few accounts of gerontologists who have grown old, and never before a memoir by a gerontologist who moved into a long-term care facility. This book is not only a first, but is a remarkable and riveting account of challenges all of us must contemplate.”–Rick Moody, AARP, Emeritus VP 

Anne M. Wyatt-Brown, Ruth Ray Karpen, and Helen Q. Kivnick Afterword by Margaret M. Gullette

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When her husband’s ill health forces them to move into an assisted living facility, Anne M. Wyatt-Brown suddenly finds herself surrounded by elderly residents. In this lively and provocative collection, other distinguished gerontologists reflect on Anne’s moving account of her transition to becoming a member of a vibrant and sociable community that offers care-giving support, while encouraging her to pursue her own interests, including exercising, reviewing articles for scholarly journals, serving on committees, and singing.

By redefining notions of care and community, undoing the stigmas of aging, and valuing the psychological factors involved in accepting assistance, this volume provides a bold new framework for thinking about aging, continuing care, making the big move to a retirement community, and living with vitality in the new environment.

“We Americans prize independence, but for many elderly people, the price they pay for independence is loneliness and worthlessness. The Big Move is a fascinating attempt to marry personal experience with academic analysis to help us all reconceive of one option for later-life living. Moving to a continuing care retirement community need not be viewed as a withdrawal from life, but rather as a new platform to manage one’s infirmities at the same time as one uses one’s skills.”
—Ruth Nemzoff, Huffington Post

“Readers will be drawn to this book for its clarity and candidness. It will appeal to people of all ages, but especially to the large cohort of readers aging into later life and facing important choices about their own care and that of their partners.”—Barbara Frey Waxman, author of To Live in the Center of the Moment: Literary Autobiographies of Aging

Anne M. Wyatt-Brown is Emeritus Associate Professor in the Program in Linguistics, University of Florida.
Ruth Ray Karpen is Professor Emeritus in the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Helen Q. Kivnick, Ph.D., L.P. is Professor of Social Work at the University of Minnesota.
Margaret Morganroth Gullette is the author, most recently, of Agewise and Aged by Culture, and a scholar at Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center .Gullette Profile

118 pages
Available now
Rights: World
paperback $18.00



“If you want to know in detail what it’s like to live in a continuing care community, read this slender volume. Culture critic Margaret Morganroth Gullette, whose books argue that our experience of aging is dictated more by our ageist culture than by our biology—and who blogs for SCF—contributes an afterword. Among many other things, she writes that:

Many of us in the midlife cohorts are stubbornly behaving as if we could remain outsiders [to old age] forever. I can’t help recalling Ian, a character in Anne Tyler’s 1991 novel, Saint Maybe. A man of scarcely 40, Ian suddenly feels in a bar that he was very likely the oldest person present:

He looked down at the hand encircling his glass—the grainy skin on his knuckles, the gnarled veins in his forearm. How could he have assumed that old people were born that way? That age was an individual trait, like freckles or blond hair, that would never happen to him?” The sooner we figure out how to be old, wisely and kindly, as life changes us, the better off American society will be. This is precious knowledge in the era of the New Longevity.”–from the Review by Flora Davis,  “Aging in Place, Is it a Pipe Dream?” Silver Century



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