Charles E. Dodgen, a clinical psychologist, originally intended to write a manual for new nursing home residents to help them acclimate to their new environment and lifestyle. As he wrote, he realized that advice he was compiling applied not only just to senior citizens, but also to everyone. He changed course and Simple Lessons for a Better Life: Unexpected Inspiration from Inside the Nursing Home was the result.
Dodgen’s aim is for readers to read one chapter at a time and meditate on its message rather than reading the book straight through. Topics range from love, loss, suffering, and beyond. There are 28 chapters, each containing one main lesson. Each lesson includes one thesis statement, a psychological overview of the issue, a related example of a nursing home resident, and tips for the reader to apply the lesson to his or her own life.
Since it follows a methodical pattern, the book sometimes comes across as dry and detached. There are valuable lessons in this book, but these are the same lessons covered in countless other self help books. Perhaps the most unshakable lesson from this book is the inherent, and possibly unintended one: sooner or later, eventually, everyone must handle his or her emotional baggage.
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