Best selling author Frances Fuller offers a unique outlook on aging based on her own experience. Her insights are penetrating and deal with issues that many seniors and their families are concerned about.
WILMINGTON, NC, October 21, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — At times, we all want to hide from the world, stick our heads in the proverbial sand and just take a break from the mayhem and chaos of the world in which we live. This is especially true as one ages, as years of dealing with the simple, everyday challenges and stressors of modern life seem to accumulate rather than simply pass. It is no small wonder that some of us can see a move to assisted living as somewhat of an escape from the world
Frances Fuller, award-winning author Of ‘Helping Yourself Grow Old’, recently addressed this issue in a piece posted on her site. In that piece she described how the move to assisted living has impacted her view of the world:
Should residing in an assisted living/ retirement home enable me to escape the chaos of the world?
This may not be a question that anyone is saying aloud, but one that voices a secret hope, a need that has grown out of our weariness. A tough week caused me to wonder.
Fires in California, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new Covid crisis, the hurricane hurtling toward New Orleans—all these were happening at once. They came to us on our televisions and in the headlines of the papers delivered every morning. And I always have my computer.
Barely awake, I take a pill to prepare my sensitive digestive system for whatever else I plan to swallow, and then I sit down with this little window to the world. I need to wait half an hour before even drinking coffee, and I need to distract myself from the need for caffeine. These needs fit conveniently with my concern for the world’s distress.
I could use the time to make my bed. I could dress, I could read something uplifting, but instead I compulsively ask Google for an update on the fire burning near my old home area of California. I read every word I can find; I study the evacuation maps; I visualize every familiar spot. I practically smell the smoke again.
I remember the tension, the emergency bag in the trunk of my car for months of the year, the numbers to call if I needed information (where this smoke was coming from, which roads were open,) the list of things to grab if I had time.
And remembering reminds me of the reasons I am here and not alone in a 4000-foot house in a semi-rural community in a high fire hazard area. Again I see that it was not a good place for a ninety-year-old woman, alone, with an injured back. I am assured that I have made a good decision.
I almost escape from this news update before there is another: a red flag warning across the whole Northern Sierra for the next two days; low humidity and high winds, conditions perfect for spread of the fire and the eruption of new spots.
A shift in the direction the air moves could take the flames toward a little city I know well and the homes of family and friends. While the fire is their problem, it is also my problem, in spite of anything I tell myself.
The news reminds me that the house I sold is still vulnerable, a fact which is not supposed to be my problem. The house is not my house, I know. I have documents to prove this, but it seems that the message has lodged in my head without managing to reach the place where I treasure things. I discover that I want the house we built to be treated kindly by the elements. I want the strangers who live in the house to be happy and secure.
And I realize that moving myself into a home for the elderly has freed me from the immediate danger and stress of these fires, but it has not shielded me from the morning news, the necessity of caring or the impulse to pray.
And so it goes.
I am compelled to see images of New Orleans, lashed by wind and rain, ocean water gushing into homes. Half of my relatives are from South Louisiana, and I went there every summer when I was a child. I remember the taste of cornbread baked in a wood-burning stove and my Grandma’s jambalaya that included some little animal my uncle killed in the woods. I see Gonzales on CNN’s map, an obscure town I think nobody else ever heard of, where my mother grew up and my parents are buried.
Then there is the crisis in Afghanistan that belongs to all of us, but I have memories even there, of strong, slender people, the man who humored me with samples in the spice market and laughed when one of them burned my tongue, the beautiful little church that seemed to be a miracle, and from a village bakery the best bread I ever ate. But later the news: a new government, the terror of dissenters, and an order to tear down the lovely church, stone by stone. Not since then have travelers stopped off in Kabul just from curiosity.
How strange it seems now, the chain of world events: The World Trade Center coming down, a great crime committed by 19 men, none of them Afghans, leading to America’s longest war, and now desperate Afghans clamoring to leave with their invaders. I consider the tragedy of this, the sorrow of people becoming enemies in the place where they were born.
All of these events, these questions invade the peace of this secure place. We aging folks talk about them over the dining table, along with fussing a little about the shortage of staff here. For complicated reasons the pandemic has made it harder to get and keep nurses and waiters and cleaning folks.
But here I also discover those who are protected from news of the world.
The full piece is available at her site at http://www.francesfullerauthor.com.
There are many great books on aging available. However, many of them were written from an academic point of view. Most are penned by sociologists, doctors, gerontologists, even the CEO of AARP, and one by a Catholic nun, Joan Chittister. Chittister’s book, ‘The Gift of Years’ is beautifully written, focusing on spiritual values and finding meaning in life. Chittister admits in the preface that she was only 70, which is the front edge of aging, and her book is somewhat abstract.
Atul Gawande’s book, ‘On Being Mortal’, relates medicine and old age, It enjoys high Amazon rankings, in the category of “the sociology of aging.” It contains a great deal of valuable scientific information and shows understanding of the physical and emotional needs of the elderly.
Frances Fuller’s book, ‘Helping Yourself Grow Old, Things I Said To Myself When I Was Almost Ninety’, is an up-close and very personal encounter with aging. It is an uncontrived and firsthand look at her own daily experiences: wrestling with physical limitations, grief, loneliness, fears, and the decisions she has made about how to cope with these and keep becoming a better person. She faces regrets and the need to forgive herself and others and is determined to live in a way that blesses her children and grandchildren.
Frances deals with many common, universal but sometimes private issues in an open, conversational tone. Her confessions and decisions invite self-searching and discussion. She tries to make sense of her own past and to understand her responsibility to younger generations. In the process she shares her daily life, enriched with memories from her fascinating experiences. Her stories and her voice — fresh, honest, irresistible — keep the reader eager for more. The end result is a book that helps create a detailed map through the challenging terrain of old age.
The result of this intimate narrative is that readers laugh, cry and identify with her mistakes and problems. Reviewers have called the book, “unique,” “honest,” “witty,” “poignant,” “challenging” and “life-changing.”
For these reasons it is a book unlike any other book on aging you will ever read. The book can serve as a primer on what lies in store for all of us, from someone who is working through many of these issues. While the book is a perfect fit for book clubs, there are many other individuals and groups who could benefit from the information and ideas in the book:
Those approaching retirement
People who are currently retired
Children of aging parents
Those who have lost a spouse
Retirement community discussion groups
Church groups (men and women)
and a host of others. For group discussions, Fuller has made a set of discussion questions available at her website at http://www.FrancesFullerAuthor.com.
Readers have lavished praise on the new book. One Amazon review stated, “I find myself thinking,’I need to read this again and take notes!’ It’s full of wisdom, humor, and grace. I also have committed to rereading it annually – it’s that important!” Another said, “There is valuable life experience in this book. Helping Yourself Grow Old is truly is a book for all ages, and one not to be missed.” Another stated, “Beautifully written book telling timeless truths, for both the old and the young. Highly recommend this book for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and learn wisdom from someone who has lived so much life.”
Frances’ prior work, ‘In Borrowed Houses’, has taken three industry awards and has achieved Bestseller status. Frances Fuller was the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 ’50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading’ Book Awards. It received the bronze medal for memoir in the Illumination Book Awards in 2014. Northern California Publishers and Authors annually gives awards for literature produced by residents of the area. In 2015 ‘In Borrowed Houses’ received two prizes: Best Non-fiction and Best Cover.
Critics have also praised ‘In Borrowed Houses.’ A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards called ‘In Borrowed Houses’ ” . . a well written book full of compassion . . . a captivating story . . . “. Another reviewer described the book as “Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching . . .”. Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, ” . . . western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope.”
Frances has shared stories about her life in an interview with Women Over 70, and a recording is available on their Facebook page.
Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. The full text of her latest article is available at her website. Fuller’s book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from ‘In Borrowed Houses’ is available at http://www.payhip.com/francesfuller. Frances Fuller also blogs on other issues relating to the Middle East on her website at http://www.inborrowedhouseslebanon.com.
About Frances Fuller:
Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.
For the original version of this press release, please visit 24-7PressRelease.com here