Happily Ever Older: Revolutionary Approaches to Long-Term Care


Moira Welsh

272 Pages

Happily Ever Older is a warm, inspiring blueprint for change, proof that instead of warehousing seniors, we can create a future with strong social connections and a reason to go on living.

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While Being Mortal (Atul Gawande) helped us understand disease and death, and Successful Aging (Daniel J. Levitin) showed us older years can be a time of joy and resilience, Happily Ever Older reveals how the right living arrangements can create a vibrancy that defies age or ability.

Reporter Moira Welsh has spent years investigating retirement homes and long-term care  and wants to tell the dangerous stories. Not the accounts of falls or bedsores or overmedication, but of seniors living with purpose and energy and love. Stories that could change the status quo.

Welsh takes readers across North America and into Europe on a whirlwind tour of  with novel approaches to community living, including a day program in a fake town out of the 1950s, a residence where seniors school their student roommates in beer pong, and an aging-in-place community in a forest where everyone seems to have a pet or a garden or both. The COVID-19 pandemic cruelly showed us that social isolation is debilitating, and Welsh tells stories of elders living with friendship, new and old, in their later years.


“Every single person in this country needs to read this book. Moira Welsh has somehow managed to give hope to something that for the most part seems hopeless. I actually laughed out loud a few times because I was relieved to know that there were people working on some incredible solutions to make getting older easier and more dignified.” — Jann Arden, singer-songwriter, actor, and bestselling author of Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss

“With a journalist’s eye and a storyteller’s heart, Moira Welsh crosses the continent and beyond, sharing tales of visionaries who are seeking to enrich the experience of aging in our world. Informative and inspiring!” — G. Allen Power, MD, FACP, geriatrician, educator, author, Schlegel Chair in Aging and Dementia Innovation

Happily Ever Older manages the difficult trick of being both an important book and a hopeful one. It is certainly the most significant work in decades on aging and the many approaches to long-term care. Laced with humour, packed with facts and dashed with a touch of magic, Moira Welsh has delivered the book of a generation.” — Laura Tamblyn Watts, LLB, CEO CanAge, Canada’s National Seniors Advocacy Organization

“Moira Welsh shows us what’s possible when we think outside of the box, push beyond the status quo and let ourselves imagine. This is not a book of doom and gloom about growing older and needing support; it’s about hope and inspiration. We need to share this book far and wide as we all are growing older and we are the best advocates for ourselves and those living in care communities. It’s true — we can be happily ever older!” — Penny Cook, president and CEO of the Pioneer Network

Happily Ever Older is a delight. Moira Welsh brings a steady drumbeat of humanity to so many stories woven into the global examples of attempts to create environments that focus on individualized care, relationship-based models of care, the emotional intelligence of the staff, normalization of architecture and community integration … and so much more.” — Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD, FAAN, senior vice-president at AARP, director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, and chief strategist at the Center to Champion Nursing in America



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