The Big Move

The Big Move

Life Between the Turning Points
Anne M. Wyatt-Brown, Ruth Ray Karpen and Helen Q. Kivnick, afterword by Margaret M. Gullette
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/07/2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-02064-2
Bookmark and Share

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


When her husband’s ill health forces them to move into an assisted living facility, Anne M. Wyatt-Brown suddenly finds herself surrounded by elderly residents. In this lively and provocative collection, other distinguished gerontologists reflect on Anne’s moving account of her transition to becoming a member of a vibrant and sociable community that offers care-giving support, while encouraging her to pursue her own interests, including exercising, reviewing articles for scholarly journals, serving on committees, and singing. By redefining notions of care and community, undoing the stigmas of aging, and valuing the psychological factors involved in accepting assistance, this volume provides a bold new framework for thinking about aging, continuing care, making the big move to a retirement community, and living with vitality in the new environment.

Author Bio

Anne M. Wyatt-Brown is Emeritus Associate Professor in the Program in Linguistics, University of Florida.

Ruth Ray Karpen is Professor Emeritus in the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Helen Q. Kivnick, Ph.D., L.P. is Professor of Social Work at the University of Minnesota.

Margaret Morganroth Gullette is an internationally known age critic, nonfiction writer, and essayist.


“This collection is an important contribution to scholarship. It is unique in taking a first-hand account of the experience of moving into a continuing-care community, and then offering commentaries on that account from several critical perspectives.”
 — Amanda Peeples, Senior Research Associate, Center for Aging Studies

“Readers will be drawn to this book for its clarity and candidness. It will appeal to people of all ages, but especially to the large cohort of readers aging into later life and facing important choices about their own care and that of their partners.”
 — Barbara Frey Waxman, author of To Live in the Center of the Moment: Literary Autobiographies of Aging

“Forced into an assisted living facility by her husband's ill health, a woman reflects on her transition from a vibrant, independent, and scholarly life to one that is quieter, slower, and that takes up considerably less space.”

“We Americans prize independence, but for many elderly people, the price they pay for independence is loneliness and worthlessness. The Big Move is a fascinating attempt to marry personal experience with academic analysis to help us all reconceive of one option for later-life living. Moving to a continuing care retirement community need not be viewed as a withdrawal from life, but rather as a new platform to manage one’s infirmities at the same time as one uses one’s skills.”
 — Huffington Post

“This is a remarkable book about finding the right place to age. It uses a single true story, refracted through personal experience and multiple forms of expertise, to say as much as piles of data. You’ll want to read it if you’re looking for clear advice about the big move into continuing care, assisted living, even a nursing home. And it’s appealing for anyone along the life course making “a big move.” This book gives the perspective that is so often missing. It’s a story not often told and too often dreaded. It tackles the broader social issue of how to age well and treat elders well on an irresistibly human scale. ”
 — Sally Chivers, Professor of English Literature, Trent University

“We have very few accounts of gerontologists who have grown old, and never before a memoir by a gerontologist who moved into a long-term care facility. This book is not only a first, but is a remarkable and riveting account of challenges all of us must contemplate. The author's own story is amplified by insights from other contributors to this volume, which altogether make it memorable and compelling. Highly recommended.”
 — Rick Moody, retired Vice President for Academic Affairs, AARP

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Home Places / Ruth Ray Karpen
1. A Wife’s Life, A Humanist’s Journey, 2010-2012 / Anne Wyatt-Brown
2. Coming to Care / Ruth Ray Karpen
3. Lifelong Strengths Ground Later-Life Wisdom / Helen Q. Kivnick
Afterword: Making Oneself at Home / Margaret Morganroth Gullette
Epilogue: Still on the Journey, 2012-2015 / Anne Wyatt-Brown
Annotated Bibliography
Fiction / Margaret M. Gullette
Mostly Non-Fiction / Helen Q. Kivnick, Ruth Ray Karpen, Anne Wyatt-Brown

Related Titles