Louise Aronson

Embracing elderhood as a stage of life

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About Louise Aronson

Geriatrician Louise Aronson is dedicated to uncovering revolutionary conclusions that will challenge our assumptions about aging and elderhood. Her New York Times bestseller Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, and Reimagining Life has been praised as a “monumental book about growing old in America”. Louise has received the Gold Professorship in Humanism in Medicine, the California Homecare Physician of the Year award, and the American Geriatrics Society Clinician-Teacher of the Year award. TODAY, CBS This Morning, NPR’s Fresh Air, Politico, LitHub, Kaiser Health News, and Tech Nation have all featured Louise’s influential work. Louise is the recipient of four Pushcart nominations, the Sonora Review Prize, and a MacDowell fellowship.

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About This Talk

When you think of "old age" what words come to mind? Louise Aronson, Elderhood Transformer, suggests that our society casts a shadow on the late years of life, from the words we use to the attention we give to aging populations. The problem is cyclical - we find old age to be "hard and undesirable" because we think of it, talk about it, and treat it as "hard and undesirable". Moreover, although aging populations utilize the greatest proportion of the healthcare system, they are given the least individualized treatment, research, or focus as a subgroup. Louise argues for a well-defined, nuanced focus on "elderhood," just as we have created around childhood and adulthood. Recognizing elderhood as a significant life stage, that is often times longer than childhood, will help us improve quality of life and health outcomes for our aging population.

Louise believes that we can create an "elderhood" that we are eager to embrace rather than one that we fear and deny. Watch her 2020 TEDMED Talk "Embracing elderhood as a stage of life" now on TEDMED.com.

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