Roy A. Prete's is grateful for an idea that came to him in 2005.
"I was pondering the question, 'What is the divine purpose in aging?' The idea was very intriguing. I opened a file and started gathering information as to what various people had as an explanation," Prete said. "I was also trying to decide when to retire myself."
Several years later, that idea has resulted in a book recently published by Deseret Book: "Embracing the Future: Preparing for Life After Retirement." Enlisting experts in different areas of expertise, Prete compiled a self-help book primarily for those approaching later life, as well as those who want to better understand the needs of seniors and how to prepare themselves and their families for the future. The book is written with a Latter-day Saint perspective.
With those aged 50 and older in mind, basic questions addressed are the purpose of aging in the divine plan, when to retire from employment, how to prepare financially for later life, how to maintain better health, how to prepare for missionary and other service, and how to remain vibrant and productive.
"The joys of service and grandparenting are underscored, and the importance of family communications and preserving family histories and heritage are emphasized," Prete wrote in the preface.
"It's a book about making adjustments," Prete said in a telephone interview. "It's about the exciting things that seniors might do, but it's also about coping with issues like illness, disability, bereavement, estate planning, wills, funerals and interment. The basic notion is that if people are well prepared, the process will work better."
The book contains chapters from doctors, lawyers, marriage and family consultants, gospel scholars, and others who have drawn from their own expertise, experience and research. Many of the contributors are emeritus general authorities and general church officers, including Elder John H. Groberg, Elder Alexander B. Morrison, Elder L. Lionel Kendrick, Sister Ardeth G. Kapp and Sister Elaine L. Jack.
Prete is a professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, and has published widely on Anglo-French military relations in World War I. He is the editor or co-editor of five books.
With pages of suggestions for self-improvement, family relations and spiritual development, Prete hopes readers will find the information to be useful. He also hopes older couples who read the book will be motivated to serve LDS missions sooner.
"You can't sit and read this book start-to-finish," Prete said. "Each chapter needs to be read and reflected upon. It's almost a library in terms of content. The keynote idea is taking an optimistic approach to your future ... Like President (Thomas S.) Monson said, 'The future is as bright as your faith.'"
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