Praise for Nasty, Brutish, and Long
Such rich humanity in these meditations! Rosofsky tenders
both the light touch and life's sure gravities of age and
decrepitude--the memorable and meaningless, the wince and
grin, belly-laughs and heartbreaks, the pharmaceutical blur
and the clarity of "ancient glittering eyes." A
book for policy makers, caregivers, the halt and lame, upright
and unencumbered: anyone who ever intends to grow old.
--Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade
When it comes to Hell, Dante Alighieri is the definitive
tour guide. But for today's (and quite possibly tomorrow's)
living hell, you'll want to take Ira Rosofsky's delightfully
wry narrative along for the ride. He accomplishes what few
authors are capable of--taking an unnerving topic and turning
it into a book so enthralling you won't want to put down.
Indeed, it's a meditation worthy of Marcus Aurelius and Jerry
--Andrew D. Blechman, author of Leisureville: Adventures in a World without Children
.. Rosofsky presents a disturbing, often moving account of
the lives of some of the two million men and women who reside
in America's 18,000 nursing homes.
The dispiriting tenor
of the title and the emphasis on confused and depressed men
and women are leavened with the author's bursts of wit, his
welcome guidance on how to evaluate nursing homes and assisted-living
centers and his frank ruminations on his own aging and health
issues and the deaths of his parents and mother-in-law. What
could have been a morose account of loss, suffering and death
is lightened by the humorous and helpful treatment of an emotionally
As a society, we are far better at innovating than sustaining.
In this sharply observed, personal account of life among the
elderly, Ira Rosofsky illuminates the paradox of growing old
in America, which too often means a greater accumulation of
years with sadly diminishing returns.
--Julie Salamon, author of Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids
With an eye for detail and a dark sense of humor, Ira Rosofsky
takes us into a world most of us never wanted to see, and
where we often avert our eyes when forced to. In this fascinating
book, Rosofsky asks us to consider how we spend the extra
years of life that our modern world has given us. The answer
isn't pretty. Intertwining the stories of his parents decline
and death with the stories of those he cares for who live
in nursing homes, Rosofsky takes us down the modern version
of the road to dusky death. The destination is the same, but
this road is newly paved.
--Lisa Sanders author of Diagnosis: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Medical Mysteries
Ira Rosofsky paints his tale with compassion and sensitivity,
and it's a story that needs telling. Seen from his perspective
as an elder care psychologist and the son of an aging father,
he urges us to question the direction we have taken in our
efforts to prolong life. If you are like me, his story will
make you hope to escape such a fate.
--John Elder Robison author of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's
In Nasty, Brutish, and Long, Ira Rosofsky provides
a rare glimpse into the hearts and minds of the aging. As
a psychologist who has worked in nursing homes and an immensely
talented and sensitive writer, he manages to find the perfect
telling details to bring this often-neglected world alive
for the reader.
--Gail Konop Baker author of Cancer is a Bitch (Or, I'd Rather be Having a Midlife Crisis)
In an intriguing combination of personal story, social commentary,
and scientific observation, a psychologist lifts the veil
on nursing homes. Ira Rosofsky's presentation--laced with
sharp humor--treats us to the nursing home experience from
the variety of these viewpoints. All who have had experiences
with nursing homes--whether as residents, relatives of residents,
or as professionals--should read Nasty, Brutish, and Long,
as should any who are interested in a penetrating view of
how we as a society care for and care about those too frail
or elderly to care for themselves.
--Laurie Stillman, Director of Public Health Policy and Advocacy, The Medical Foundation
Nasty, Brutish, and Long is as much about the last
years of life and the meaning of existence during old age
as it is about nursing homes. Ira Rosofsky's personal narrative--along
with the tales of the elderly he treats--contributes to a
picture of the author as a fully engaged human being who tells
his story with style and humor. And the story is an insightful
and sensitive perspective on issues as varied as psychotherapy,
psychopharmacology, the institutionalization of the aged,
and our inevitable mortality.
--David Hall, former Principal, Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, University of Chicago