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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Free books offer for handling later life

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Free Books for Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends – an offer from author Marion Shoard:


Last February I spent a very enjoyable morning taking part in a training session for Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends organised by Julia Burton-Jones [Anna Chaplaincy church Lead]. Julia had asked me to talk about the changes and challenges of later life. I tried first to provide a framework for those present to understand the changes to the body which later life brings, contrasting inevitable ones such as an increase in blood pressure with conditions common in later life but far from universal, such as deafness and dementia.

I went on to explain the nutritional, exercise and psychological needs of older people. Then, after coffee, we looked at the nature of dementia and the world of mental capacity and power of attorney, and also examined challenges older people face in fields from housing and health to benefits and help in the home.

Julia had asked me to speak because I had spent more than ten years writing a book called How to Handle Later Life (Amaranth Books, 2017). Its 1,000 pages explore the main choices people face as they grow older and the ways in which they can avoid potential problems.

Reviewers and readers tell me the book is eminently readable, perhaps partly it includes many case examples, drawn from the four corners of the UK, to show readers what they can reasonably expect from, say, a good retirement village, care-and-repair scheme, social care package, hospice or live-in care arrangement, for example.

However, over the last twelve months, the pandemic has taken away opportunities to sell my book, whether at conferences, lectures and exhibitions or in bookshops. My publisher, Amaranth Books, has retained copies for sale but I have bought others which it would otherwise have pulped to reduce storage costs, and am offering them free to individuals and groups involved in supporting older people in churches, such as the Anna Chaplaincy network, Anna Friends, and Christians on Ageing. If you would like one, just drop me a line with your name, address and a cheque for £3.50; my address is PO Box 664, Rochester, Kent ME1 9JB.

A review in the Methodist Recorder gives a sense of the book’s scope:

Shoard addresses in a thorough-going and balanced manner the biggest concerns and decisions people face as they grow older… Reliable and comprehensive… It should be found in every public library… As someone who has been involved in dementia care and research over the years, I find the author's chapter on this subject particularly impressive. Its 25 pages are essential reading.

Amaranth Books’ website provides further information, including links to the introduction, table of contents, reviews and sample chapters, as well as a facility to purchase.

I have had the pleasure of meeting alas, usually only over the phone or via Zoom, many Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends over the past year, often through Christians on Ageing’s Conference Call monthly discussions. It has been heartening to find out about the valuable work you are doing up and down the country. All power to your elbow!

Marion Shoard



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