70Candles! BOOK


70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade

By Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole

Book Group Discussion Questions are now included in the printed book and the Kindle and Nook versions.

Find the book at:

As they turned 70, the authors of 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade set out to investigate how women their age and older were living their lives. They sought role models for themselves and messages for the droves of baby boomers on their heels. They were curious about the challenges and joys of their age-mates, their work and retirement status, living arrangements, family and social connections, and more. These septuagenarians knew they were not like their own grandmothers who sat in rocking chairs knitting. But what is the new normal?

This book, informative and inspirational, describes what they found in their reading, their ongoing 70Candles.com blog, and 70Candles conversation groups held in various parts of the U.S. Although they have taken somewhat different paths, the authors agree that turning 70 and entering their eighth decade has, indeed, been momentous. “Welcome to old age.” They and their peers have found this new era exciting, sometimes scary, but full of opportunity. As developmental psychologists speak of life’s stages and phases and rites of passage, the purpose of this book is the recognition that 70 is something important, part of an intriguing new stage of life, not just a birthday like any other.

70Candles! is aimed at all women approaching 70 and in their 70’s and those interested in this journey—men, women, family and friends.

Taos Institute Publishers              http://www.taosinstitute.net/70candles

18 Responses to 70Candles! BOOK

  1. Blog Mavens says:

    Read this excellent article from the Institute on Aging, about our 70Candles.com blog and our 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade book at:


  2. Pingback: 70 Candles: Aging Women Share Their Inspirational Stories on Thriving in Old Age - IOA Blog

  3. Pata says:

    Please keep 70candles going. I feel so comforted and excited knowing you gals are there and looking out for us it’s like the Red Hat society only purple for wisdom and grace and FUN !

  4. Blog Mavens says:

    Another article by Jane Brody in the New York Times; second in her series on aging. This one, Aging in Place, uses material from our 70Candles! book to describe options available to older women.

    Here’s the link:

    Enjoy reading and let us know what you think.

  5. Blog Mavens says:

    Our book has been written up in the New York Times!
    Here’s the link to the wonderful article by Jane Brody, first of two in her series on aging:


  6. Sanna Pesonen says:

    Sorry, just found it on Amazon!

  7. Sanna Pesonen says:


    I’d like to order the 70 Candles book for my mother, how do I purchase it? I tried clicking on the tao institute link on this page, but it doesn’t work.

    P.S. I live in Canada, hope that’s not a problem:)

  8. Marie says:

    Thank for your work and Book. I am a kindergarten teacher, so I study normal development and work with nature. I had sooooo many questions and worries about this 8th, 9th, and 10th decades. How can I continue my life with love, dignity, energy, health, passion and happiness with some dignity and keep going…..were my questions and then I found You. I am so thankful I am not alone!

  9. What a great book. Thank you Jane for the book.. Bee

  10. Blog Mavens says:

    70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade
    by Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole

    Review by Samuel Mahaffy

    “What is your bliss at this time?” Imagine living your bliss into your 70’s, 80’s and beyond! The exquisite cover design of 70 Candles anticipates the delightful, celebratory stories of women living well–into their 70’s. The Taos Institute tradition of publishing inspiring and incisive works achieves a new benchmark with the release of 70 Candles.

    Beginning with the colorful multi-colored candles on the book cover, 70 Candles speaks celebration! 70 Candles is a celebration of “a new construction of aging, one that is more positive than anything that has come before…” (Foreword by Mary Gergen).
    70 Candles engages a deepening and reflective dialogue about aging past 70. This is a richly textured woven narrative spoken in the first person voice of women who are living life fully into their 70s and beyond. The authors, Jan Giddan and Ellen Cole, move from blog posts to conversation groups to engaging with the emerging voices of our times bringing forward a new paradigm on aging.

    Either women or men, anticipating or dreading, the aging process will find great richness in 70 Candles. Our senior years offer an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent ourselves and 70 Candles offers a framework for doing just that.

    The great achievement of 70 Candles is the blending of first person narrative, with review of significant literature and aging resources. The blending of research perspective and first-person voice makes 70 Candles! a compelling and unique contribution to the literature on positive aging.

    Narratives include the accounts of younger and older women, with a slant toward the stories of women approaching their 70th birthday or looking back on that benchmark. The literature review on positive aging and the listed resources are valuable for anyone intentional about constructing a positive experience of aging.

    70 Candles measures the research findings of positive aging literature against the lived experiences of the women who share their stories. Listen well to septuagenarian wisdom! There is no greater teacher than those who have lived life into their 70s and beyond. Emerging themes of the septuagenarian voices include “positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishments…(p. 107).

    70 Candles does not minimize either the complexities or challenges of life after 70. Indeed, several women share their account of grieving the loss of career, the sense of place, and the relationships that have been an anchor for much of their life. 70 Candles brings new energy to sometimes tired conversations about aging. Topics such as caregiving, retirement, and aging in place, find fresh voice and perspective in this compelling work.

    70 Candles affirms the power of asking strengths-based questions. “What does it take to thrive into and beyond the eighth decade of our life?” Start a blog, go barefoot more often, have a martini every night! 70 Candles gives permission to each of us to construct what our senior years will look like. Those who view “older people as less competent, weaker, more needy” (p. 77) have never met the women who share their stories in 70 Candles.

    70 Candles is a ‘coming-of-age’ work for the positive aging movement. The candles are lit and the cake is about to be cut to celebrate a significant paradigm shift! 70 Candles moves us from viewing aging as decline to the re-imagination of aging as a time of “embracing change imaginatively and with optimism” (p. 204).

    70 Candles is simply delightful reading. This is a thoughtful, reflective and carefully constructed narrative about living long and living well. The positive aging movement was catalyzed some decades ago by the work of Mary and Ken Gergen and the Taos Institute sponsorship of the Positive Aging Newsletter. Three decades of work in positive aging find mature fulfillment with the publication of 70 Candles. The publication of 70 Candles marks a turning point. We need to argue less for a new perspective on aging and can celebrate more the richness of our senior years.

    70 Candles is an exquisite gift to give to an aging partner or parent. Or, celebrate your own aging process in anticipation of lighting the 70 candles! Anyone facing the great transitions of later life including retirement, and caregiving or being cared for, will find solace, hope, and inspiration in this work. Creativity is a key to positive aging and 70 Candles catalyzes a thoughtful and reflective re-imagination of the aging process.

    Treasure the wisdom of septuagenarian women. Then design your own road map for flourishing in your senior years!

  11. Frances Anne says:

    So glad to happen upon this site! I’m going to order your book for 6 of my friends. I turned 70 six months ago and it’s just dawning on me that my don’t-do-anything-more-than-the-bare-minimum-spend-as-much-time-in-bed attitude for the past 6 months might just be depression!! Which means I can overcome this! With a little help from my 70’s friends – here I hope!

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Yes, you are on to something important. If you recognize that you are feeling depressed, you CAN do something about it. Reaching out for help is the first step.

      Research shows that factors that contribute to well-being include absence of depression and resilience. New learning seems to change the brain and improve resilience, and exercise and social ties improve our health.

      There’s lots to do if you get out of bed, starting with exercise. Just begin by walking…a little more each day.

      If you need professional help, seek it.

      We look forward to hearing more from you.
      Your friends at 70candles.

  12. Joy Sacramone says:

    i just turned 70, i am a young 70, people cant believe my age, i want to stay

    young and vibrant always……help

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Welcome to 70!
      There’s much we can do to keep our minds and bodies active, even when we accept that we are “old.”
      “Old” can be a rich and intriguing stage of life…and staying vibrant, a reasonable goal.
      Jane and Ellen

  13. Blog Mavens says:

    Many women enjoy discussing the topic of aging in this era. Some have included the subject in on-going book groups.

    Perhaps you can find fellow discussants through this page, if you tell our readers where you live.
    Jane and Ellen

  14. judie hansen says:

    I am interested in a discussion group on aging.

    • Blog Mavens says:


      We’re seeing that our book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, is a wonderful catalyst for conversation for groups of women. Many are introducing it to their church groups or book groups, where anyone can lead. After an introduction, breakout groups can discus different topics mentioned in the book, take notes, then return to the group as a whole for further discussion of each topic.

      These events are interesting, heartwarming and fun! Perhaps you can find…or create such a gathering where you live.

      The book is available at taosinstitute.net/70candles as well as at Amazon.com in paperback and as a Kindle download.

      Let us know if this idea works for you.

  15. Blog Mavens says:

    We are currently preparing our new book:

    70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade

    It will be published by Taos Institute Publishing, and is due out this summer.
    Watch for it!

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