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Book Review: Living With Purpose in a Worn-Out Body, Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults by Missy Buchanan

I am re-posting the Q&A along with my review:

Link for book @ Amazon:
Paperback $9.30
Kindle $8.00

Link for book @ Christian Book:
Paperback $9.99

Published by Upper Room Books  2008/96 pages
Non-fiction/Elderly Care/Care-giving/Meditation-Devotional

Thank you to Upper Room Books and B and B Media for my free copy for reading/reviewing. 

I can't remember when I first began caring for mother and daddy, maybe as far back as 1990---I was 26 then. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1996 but began showing signs of this disease in 1990. Daddy first began having health problems as far back as 1976, but in 1990 he had 2 major surgeries that set the pace for the next 21 years of health problems, (a total of 11 surgeries since 1990). Mother died March 2, 2008. Daddy is age 88. On July 4, 2002 I moved in with daddy to live in his home and care for him. Most of these years my husband has worked in another city and came home on the weekends to see me and help care for daddy. It has been a long journey for all of us. It really has been my biggest mission in this life, to care for my family. I was 19 when I had my first son and have continuously cared for someone since then, I don't remember what it was like for it to just be me. By sharing my story I'm not stating I wish things had gone differently, because I know that this has been the Lord's will for my life. I also know that I would not be who I am today if I'd not learned about being a servant. A servant is something most people compare to being under servitude such as a slave. To me a servant is a selfless, sacrificial, laying down of one's life in order to obey Jesus. It's not about me, it's all about Him. When I am at the end of my life, whenever that will be, I will not look back and wish I'd made more money, or finished that college degree I was so close to finishing, or continued working, or traveled more; I will look back on a life lived obeying the call of Jesus and that I gave it my all, not for me, but for Him. Has this care-giving task been easy? Certainly not, it has been the hardest job I've ever done, but it has been an honor. I've given you my story in order to share why I read the book Living With Purpose, silly me I thought that by reading this book I would be able to help daddy more, yet this book helped me. I finished this book last night and I have to admit I shed a few tears, because I know from what daddy has shared with me that he has felt some of these same emotions that are in the meditations. Feelings of limitations, nonproductive, vulnerable, reflecting on his life, and a great longing for home--heaven. He misses momma, he misses the ability to walk well, he is tired. Someday he will be called home, I'm hoping and praying it will be quietly. He has had a life of poverty and struggles as a child, a Veteran of World War II including surviving the D-day invasion of Omaha Beach, he has had diseases and various painful surgeries, he has outlived 2 wives, raised children that were not his biologically, worked hard and saved, and he cared for mother during her years with Alzheimer's. My daddy who never changed a diaper and had little to do with us kids, cared faithfully for mother as if she was his precious baby (she was). His caring for mother has been his greatest testimony to others, faithfulness to the end. In this I hope that I too will be faithful to daddy--to the end.

Living With Purpose in a Worn-Out Body is a small book, large print, devotional type book for the frail elderly and their caregivers. There are Bible verses used, usually 2 per meditation/devotional writing. The writings are filled with the feelings of the elderly person, some of them are heartbreaking, haunting. Yet, the book gives insight that a care-giver needs in order to understand and have more empathy for the elderly person being cared for.
This is a book that churches and nursing homes should have on hand for distribution! I know of no other book like this and I'm glad Missy Buchanan was led to write it!

Blissful Reading!

Q&A with Missy Buchanan

596 Buchanan photo - reduced.jpgEven when age creeps up on the body and mind, and life changes from what it once was, is it still possible to have a purpose in life?  When it is no longer possible to venture out and do the things you once loved, can you still find a reason to look forward to each day?  Missy Buchanan, a leading expert and advocate for senior adults, believes that you can.  Buchanan wants to encourage older adults to find their purpose, share their stories, and make an impact on those around them.

Q: What made you decide to start ministering to and writing books for older adults?

Well, as a middle-aged adult, I never had any intention of becoming an author of books for older adults.  But because of the journey that my own aging parents were on, I realized how they had become disconnected from their church as their lives changed.  They started off as active older adults and then that circle got smaller as they had more needs and physical limitations.  As I would visit them at their retirement community, I would also see so many others that were just like them.  They needed spiritual encouragement.  And so that’s why I got started.  The first book began as a project just for my own parents.  I wrote devotions and kept them in a loose-leaf notebook.   But others started asking for them and things just spiraled from there.

Q: What do you think children need to know about their aging parents?

What I realized personally was that I had been so caught up in my parents’ physical needs that I had neglected their spiritual needs.  They were no longer connected to their church, at least in regular worship attendance, and that had been such a huge part of their lives.  I almost made that mistake of just totally missing that, and that was the point where I began to write.  I looked and there were other books written about older adults but not very many that were written to them and for them.  So the first thing I would tell their children is to pay attention not only to their physical needs but also to their spiritual needs.

Q: What is your opinion about role reversal with children and their aging parents?

I hear the whole idea of role reversal where the older parent becomes a child and the grown children become the parent, and I understand what they are talking about because my own parents became more dependent on me.  But I think that when we refer to it as a role reversal, and we begin to think of our aging parents as children, we strip away their dignity.  We rob them of respect and we overlook the fact that they are not children.  They have had a lifetime of experiences that a child has not had.  And I think that is an important difference that grown children need to think about and pay attention to.  It’s more of a role shift in responsibilities and not a role reversal.  I know how much it hurts an aging parent to feel like they are being treated like a baby or like a child. 

Q: Other than aging adults, who else has benefited from your writing?

A friend of mine in an assisted living facility asked me to bring some books for one of her tablemates.  Her tablemate explained that these books were for her adult children.  “They don’t understand what it feels like to grow old, and I can’t seem to make them understand, but your books say it better than I ever could.”  My books are all written in the first person as if an older adult is speaking directly to God.  There are a lot of adult children that are buying them for themselves and older adults buying them for their grown children. 

And I’ve heard of different youth groups that have been reading my books in order to better understand what it’s like to grow old.  Instead of just mocking their older peers, they are learning that they share a lot of the same feelings—feelings of insecurity, feelings of fear.  As a result of reading the books, one youth group in Tennessee has even adopted the residents of the senior living center across from their church. 

Q: How can faith change our idea of growing older?

So many see aging as a punishment, and they dread it so much.  But even though it is difficult to be limited by an aging body, they need to look at it as a gift that God has given them.  They still have so much to give.  They have great wisdom to share and stories to share.  I always tell my older friends that their story is not yet over.

Missy Buchanan is the author of Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms and
Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room Books).

Click here to watch Missy Buchanan’s recent interview with
Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Roberts’ 86-year-old mother.

Visit Missy Buchanan’s website,, and blog,
Become a friend on Facebook (Aging and Faith) and follow on Twitter (MissyBuchanan). Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms

In Talking with God in Old Age, Missy Buchanan sensitively address the worries, fears, and frustrations of older adults and extends hope, encouraging them to maintain an open dialogue with God. Each reading features:
·         A candid conversation with God
·         A related passage from Psalms
·         Easy-to-read print

Seniors grappling with the aging process will readily identify with these reflections and will find reassurance of God’s Presence. Caregivers, family members, and others seeking to understand aging loved ones will gain insight into the thoughts and emotions of the elderly frail. with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults

Birthed out of real-life experience, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body is a big does of authentic spiritual encouragement for frail elderly who struggle to find purpose a the end of their lives. These devotionals addressed to God raise in prayer the many concerns of the frail elderly and provide opportunities to reminisce and reflect on their blessings.

Each devotional offers the following:
·         Easy-to-read print
·         Reader-friendly format
·         Comfortable, nonacademic language
·         A first-person address to God
·         Brief supporting scriptures from the New and Old Testaments