Recommended Reading for Reverse Mortgage Clientele - Skip to content

Recommended Reading for Reverse Mortgage Clientele


We’ve covered retirement websites and family resources, but not books to help elders prepare for later life living. Here are thirteen suggestions, broken out by category, for timely and timeless reads reverse mortgage professionals may want to keep on their office shelves, or have as a handy list, to share with clients and prospects.

Note: While we’ve included Amazon links for easy reference, most of these titles will be available through local libraries, or via the nationwide interlibrary loan (ILL) system, so there’s no need for seniors to purchase a book unless they wish to own a copy.

Italicized passages are direct quotes from the books.

reverse mortgage newsPositive Aging

The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife by Mark Freedman

In his landmark book, social entrepreneur Freedman, who coined the term “encore careers” to describe jobs people embrace in the second half, says our extended life span has introduced a new life stage.

The end of middle age is no longer, for most people, attached to the beginning of either retirement or old age. We’re in the early stages of a great migration…across time and the life course, as tens of millions (8,000 Baby Boomers turn 60 every day) reach the spot where middle age used to end and old age once began.

The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life by Gene Cohen

The unique combination of age, experience, and creativity can produce exciting inner growth and infinite potential for everyone, says Gene Cohen, MD, PhD. Weaving research with inspiring life stories and fresh insights, Dr. Cohen takes the reader into previously uncharted territory of human potential in the second half of life.

Creativity is a powerful inner resource that is not only possible in later life, but common.

From Age-ing to Sage-ing by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Growing older does not automatically confer wisdom, but growing wiser is always possible, says Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi. To put an “s” in front of age, someone must consciously choose the path of “spiritual eldering.”

By activating their dormant powers of intuition, they become seers who feed wisdom back into society and guide the long-term reclamation project of healing our planet.

Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton

At 61, Sarton, already an accomplished poet and author, published this diary-like memoir that pulls no punches about life, living alone, romantic love, and the creative process. It’s the kind of book one can read and re-read at various life stages (I first read it in my twenties.)

Friends, even passionate love, are not my real life, unless there is time alone in which to explore what is happening or what has happened. I hope to break through into the rough, rocky depths, to the matrix itself. There is violence there and anger never resolved. My need to be alone is balanced against my fear of what will happen when suddenly I enter the huge empty silence if I cannot find support there.

The Measure of My Days by Florida Scott-Maxwell

I read Scott-Maxwell’s classic at age 24, when her perspective was sixty years in my future. A playwright and Jungian analyst, she discusses the unique predicament of one’s later years: when the body may rebel but the mind is still vital and passionate.

You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done … you are fierce with reality.

Ripening Time: Inside Stories for Aging with Grace by Sherry Ruth Anderson

How do we become elders in the truest sense, and not simply old? Anderson, who wrote this book in her 70s, says it’s an inner sense of relaxation, a letting go of thinking we’re the center of the universe, a generativity towards those who will follow.

We’re a new fruit. To reach the true harvest of our lives, the point is not to know the map but to be the map. The point is to mature not for ourselves alone but for all our kin, all those who have gone before us and the children of the future.


Loving Yourself to Great Health by Louise Hay

At 89, best-selling author and personal growth pioneer Louise Hay is in exceptional good health — and decades ago, she conquered cancer. In this book that transcends fads, diets and dogma, Hay, together with two health and nutrition professionals, shows us how to take our health, moods, and energy to the next level, whatever our age.

Safe 4 Retirement by Jack Tatar

When Tatar lost both his parents within six months, it set him on a course to discover what really makes retirement work. In this book, he covers the four pillars he believes make for a successful retirement: financial preparedness, health/wellness, mental attitude, and social involvement. A friendly, informal read packed with research and experience you can use today to enrich your retirement tomorrows.

Preparing for Death

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Old age is not a disease, though modern medicine has been treating it as one, argues Harvard Medical school professor and surgeon Atul Gawande in his compelling bestseller. Worth reading at any age and life stage.

“We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think [it] is to ensure health and survival. But really it…is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. Those reasons matter not just at the end of life, or when debility comes, but all along the way.”

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

In this graphic memoir, New Yorker magazine cartoonist Roz Chast tackles her parents’ decline into old age and death with a humor and humility that makes the book an astonishing read, filled with more beauty than pathos, poignant yet positive. Her signature drawings balance the serious subject matter.

My mother belonged to a Poetry Club. She also played classical piano in a group that, to all the members’ amusement, was called Classical Pianists in Retirement: CPR.

Deathing: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life by Anya Foos-Graber

This is a stunning work, especially comforting for people who may have no belief system or structure for facing life’s final ascent. It is an actual instruction manual for how to prepare for dying, and can be used to support a loved one who is close to transitioning, as well as for preparing for one’s own passage.

Ordinarily when people die, they are unprepared and uninformed; probably they are bewildered or frightened, especially if they are alone. Deathing offers a way to free up dying people so they can utilize the highest potential of the transition called death and experience it as a peak moment, a culmination of life. This deliberate, practical, yet spontaneous approach…can enable people to attain higher levels of consciousness.

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Dubbed “the bestselling memoir of all time,” Albom’s touching tribute takes us though fourteen Tuesday visits with his beloved former professor, who is dying from ALS — and living more fully in his last year than many people do in a lifetime.

Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a rare but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it is only in your head. Sometimes it is right alongside their beds.

The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week, in his home, by a window in his study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink flowers. The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience.


The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Allan Karlsson has lived an event-filled life, supping with heads of state on several continents. But, though he’s still healthy and mentally sound, he ends up in a nursing home that cramps his style. Thus on the morning of his 100th birthday, Allan spontaneously decides to escape by climbing out his bedroom window.

It’s no accident that “escape” is the root of escapade, because the hijinks that ensue are a laugh-out-loud testament to what friendship and a sense of adventure can create, at any age. The book is also historically well researched, and Allan’s insertion into actual world events may be quite amusing to those who lived through them the first time.

Have a favorite title that’s not on this list? Please share it in the Comments section, below!


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  1. EXTREMELY Exceptional post. I’ve read a number of these selections – thanks for the referrals of the ones I have not read. I’m anxious to tackle my ‘summer reading’.

    • Wow, Carol, thanks so much! I hope you’ll share on social media for the benefit of all who work with seniors ~ or who are planning to grow old 🙂


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