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Required Reading from Ai-Jen Poo

Stria Staff May 12, 2018
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As an award-winning activist, author, and thought-leader, Ai-Jen Poo is one of the most influential and powerful advocates for domestic workers and the aging population. Her leadership has helped dramatically improve people’s lives in her role as the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, an organization dedicated to ensuring access to affordable care for the elderly and providing quality jobs to our nation’s caregiving work force. She paved the way for the nation’s first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010 and she is the author of “The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.”

“As important as longevity is the ability to “be the author of your own story.” It’s important to get the right balance between longevity and humanity.”

Ai-Jen Poo

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

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.

Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end. (From the publisher)

MORE FROM Ai-Jen Poo

We asked Ai-Jen and four of her peers what private sector innovations are most needed to address the challenges of our aging society? Read their answers.