Book review: Beloved Old Age and What to Do About It

Nurse consultant vulnerable older adults, Clare Abley reviews Beloved Old Age and What to Do About It.

Beloved Old Age and What to Do About It

Margery Allingham’s The Relay handed on to Julia Jones

Golden Duck

£10.99 | 192pp

ISBN: 9781899262298

This book is about the perspectives of two people caring for older family members, novelist Margery Allingham (MA) in the 1950s and her biographer Julia Jones (JJ) in 2016. JJ has drawn on MA’s writings by weaving in her own experiences of caring for her mother, now in her 90s and living in supported housing.

The central theme is how an older person nearing the end of life ‘passes the baton’ to the next generation. It demonstrates that family carers can do this in a considered, informed and committed way that epitomises person-centred care. The book also highlights that good dementia care is possible and rewarding when accompanied by appropriate insight and understanding.

The approach of alternate chapters written by MA and JJ is slightly confusing at first, but the number of valuable insights more than makes up for it. It is an essential read for those yet to be convinced that getting to know a person with dementia is a prerequisite for providing high-quality care, and that in most cases listening to family carers, and working in partnership with them, is the best way to do this.  

Reviewed by Clare Abley, nurse consultant vulnerable older adults, the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and honorary senior clinical lecturer, Institute for Ageing, Newcastle University 

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