For the first time in history, most people in America can expect to live to age 75 or older. In 1900, life expectancy at birth was 49 years. While individuals are living longer, they are also having fewer children with the result that the society as a whole is older. People over 65 now outnumber teenagers. By the year 2030 when the Baby Boom generation is passing through old age, at least one in five Americans will be elderly.

It is high time for us to treat long lived individuals with the respect they deserve. Native Americans have long realized that tribal elders are wisdomkeepers who can pass on the spiritual legacy of the past to the generations to come. In The Ageless Spirit, editors Phillip L. Berman and Connie Goldman have gathered together 40 selections from conversations with creative people over 70. Among those who share their thoughts about time, death, family, relationships, and work are actors Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, poet Kunitz, psychologist Rollo May, oral historian Studs Terkel, folk singer Pete Seeger, gray panther activist Maggie Kuhn, television broadcaster Art Linkletter, and many others. Ceramic artist Beatrice Wood expresses the feelings of many of these individuals when she says, "Age is very mysterious because the essence of the human being — the soul — actually never ages. It's only the outer covering of the individual that changes." The Ageless Spirit is a fine tour guide to the country of old age.