Books on Aging

Phoebe Caldwell

There is a tendency to stereotype old people, so their personal stories fade into the typecast of' senior citizen'. Out to Grass looks at the problems of isolation and loss of identity that arise when we outlive those whom we haveknown and loved.As my neighbour said when her husband and sister died: 'Nobody knows who I am now.'The aim of this book is to listen to the voices of the truly old, through conversations with elderly people in the residential complex we share.Personal histories interweave withnational and international events as Phoebe explores the lives of twenty of her neighbours and her own. The overarching impression is of resilience and humour - and we need them both.
Maybugs and Mortality speculates in a wholly different way on what it means to be alive. It is about an accidental encounter between the author and ‘Maybugs’, a maybug (cockchafer) on its last legs, that led to a light-hearted and partly autobiographical exploration of the latter half of their respective life cycles. Phoebe Caldwell, pioneer of responsive communication with autistic people, has spent a lifetime understanding and responding to barriers and challenges in communication between individuals, enabling autistic children and adults to engage with a world that is sensorily confusing. In this fascinating and diverse book, she draws on her work, personal experience and scientific advances in psychology and neurobiology to consider key aspects of the shared life-cycles and mortality of maybug and human. From this unique perspective, she examines themes such as consciousness, self-awareness and the need to reach out beyond ourselves in order to find confirmation and understanding. A fascinating and informative read of interest to anyone interested in human behaviour, psychology and autism.
‘While I do not think I actually like insects, Maybugs came with a wealth of stories – if the flight path is erratic, the destination is fascinating. I have learned respect and at times, felt an odd affection for my fellow traveller.’ (Phoebe Caldwell – Maybugs and Mortality)

From wayward plumbing to questions of theology, from art and poetry to arguments with housing associations, and from the classic limestone landscape of the Yorkshire Dales to the stark beauty of the Scottish Highlands, the sweep of Driving South to Inverness ranges poignantly and humorously from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Now in her eighties, and after a lifetime of hard work helping people with profound communication difficulties as a result of autism or other learning disabilities, Dr Phoebe Caldwell made the difficult decision to accept the inevitabilities of old age and leave the home she loved to move into sheltered accommodation. This decision and its consequences form the heart of this passionately written memoir.
How does one take a lifetime’s memories and possessions and make them fit new circumstances, but also hold on to an identity built up over decades?
In Driving South to Inverness Phoebe reflects on her past, her family history, and her childhood during the Blitz. She revisits falling in love with her husband and the realities of raising a large family. She offers evocative descriptions of the Dales that she has now made her home and she shares her insights into life, faith, art and philosophy, the opportunities and failings of modernity, and her frustrations with her altered situation as she accepts the changes she faces