Best Non-Fiction Books for Senior Citizens

Nothing beats reading a good book. A good read has been proven to be beneficial to all and sundry, but more to senior citizens. Sometimes reading a non-fictional book is the best way to gain some helpful insights and viewpoints on the personal, spiritual, financial and emotional journey that senior citizens face. Gone are the days when the publishing world was filled with young and aspiring authors, a good number of authors today are at the other end of the spectrum – seniors. It’s refreshing to hear the words of authors on the same life journey as you.

Studies Show That a Reading Culture Leads To:

  • Increased mental stimulation.
  • Slowed onset of dementia.
  • Reduced stress.
  • Better social life (emotional intelligence and empathy).
  • Improved reasoning, vocabulary and critical thinking skills.
  • Improved sleep, memory and concentration.

Books are powerful tool that will take you on a life-changing adventure and help bring back good memories from the comfort of your home. The best thing about books is that they never run out of stock. There is a book for everyone.

A favorite pastime among the elderly, it’s now a familiar sight to see book clubs in senior living communities. Over 70 percent of senior citizens cite reading as a favorite pastime. With the advancement of technology, eBooks now let you zoom texts for seniors with eye problems and audiobooks will enable you to listen to your favorite book more conveniently.

Why Non-Fiction Books?

Non-fiction publishing is fast gaining popularity thanks to the growing population of Baby Boomers retirees. While some seniors enjoy the unfolding mysteries of fiction thrillers and embracing the evocative nostalgia of the past years, more and more seniors appreciate remarkable non-fiction pieces that are equally thought-provoking and captivating. Nothing is more enthralling than the truth: the hands-on value of relatable experiences and the fascination of true life in non-fiction works cannot be ignored.

Non-fiction books come in different varieties and cover an array of topics related to a journey we are all familiar with – growing older. Contrary to popular opinion, not all non-fiction books for the elderly are boring. There are plenty of humorous and light-hearted ones that uncover facts, making them worth a read. Popular categories include motivational books that guide seniors towards living their best lives, sociology books that cover social issues affecting the elderly and memoirs that help seniors to prepare for and understand their lives.

Should Senior Citizens Read Books And Why?

Everyone should read books irrespective of their age. A study by the Yale University School of Public Health found out that seniors who read books for 3.5+ hours a week have almost 2 years of longer life. Non-fiction books for the elderly discuss our current lifestyles and how we can make our lives better. Reading books keeps seniors engaged and for a moment forget all about the struggles they might be going through.

Picking a handful of books from the several available can be challenging. Here is a collection of 10 best non-fictions books for senior citizens we recommend the next time you make a trip to the library. From heartwarming advice like Why Survive?: Being Old in America to tear-jerkers like Humans of New York, the book recommendations below will help you steer towards your favorite new read.

Top 10 Books For Senior Citizens

  1. Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life by Roger Rosenblatt

We have a tendency of repeating our mistakes over and over again instead of learning from them. This book by acclaimed and award-winning essayist Roger Rosenblatt summarizes the things you should learn about life. If you have been unsuccessfully searching for practical, timeless and painless advice on the trends and events of sunset years, look no further than this book. You will love the easy to implement guidelines and the relatable reflections of older life. With only 140 pages, you will have fun reading this little guide. It is available in both paperback and hardcover.


  1. I’m Too Young To Be Seventy by Judy Viorst

If you love poems, you will definitely enjoy this collection of wise, witty and touching poems by the critically-acclaimed author of Suddenly Sixty and Forever Fifty. The book explores funny and playful observations on growing old in America and addresses the surprising pleasures of aging like the joys of grandparenthood and the state of our sex lives. Any senior woman will love the quirky sense of humor used in this little book.


  1. Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Stage by Jo Ann Jenkins.

The author of this book focuses on 3 key areas: self, health and wealth. This compelling and engaging book by Jenkins, AARP’s CEO will enable you to work towards attaining your full potential. The book aims at changing the narrative about what growing old is all about. It lays down the exciting options to live a thrilling life in your sunset years. Senior citizens have different goals and face distinct challenges than people in their 40s and 30s. If you want to fully explore possibilities and seek out opportunities to live an accomplished lifestyle, you should get a copy of this constructive gem.


  1. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

This book by war journalist and award-winning author Sebastian Junger addresses the difficulties that combat soldiers undergo when returning home from war zones. It discusses how soldiers are becoming more disconnected and depressed in a society that is deemed to be safe and affluent. During combat, soldiers put aside their religious, racial and political differences to fight for a common cause. When troops come back home, they find a society that is divided. If you have an interest in what soldiers go through when reintegrating into the society, then this hardcover is an absolute must-read.


  1. Smart Women Don’t Retire – They Break Free by Gail Rentsch

For many people entering their senior years, the simple thought of retiring is frightening. This inspiring guide by Gail Rentsch will give you useful tips on how to reinvent yourself in your golden years. It focuses on the unique challenges that women over 50 years face in the journey towards
exploring new possibilities. If you are looking for means to discovering exciting opportunities, you will love the stories and practical advice from women who have broken free.


  1. Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

Humans of New York captures the daily glimpses of random people on the streets of NY. What started as an ambitious photographic project in the summer of 2010 that was accompanied by in-depth interviews in a signature story-telling style became an instant hit. He turned the idea into a book that became a number one New York Times bestselling book. Brandon, an alumnus of the University of Georgia, interviews people of different ages, races, social classes and genders. The stories are intriguing and inspiring to many people, including seniors.


  1. The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life by Gene D. Cohen


This easy to read book by world-renowned researcher and psychiatrist Gene D. Cohen aims to help seniors recognize and promote their inner creativity for purposes of awakening personal fulfillment and human growth and potential. The book is filled with ideas backed by facts and inspiring stories. It also debunks aging myths and insists that creativity is not just for geniuses.


  1. Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying by Ram Dass

This inspiring memoir is recommended for seniors that have a close brush with death. It extensively covers the usual suspects associated with old age – powerlessness, loneliness, depression and loss of purpose. He reiterates that you have the right to choose your own moment of death. You will love the conversational tone used in this bestseller and how the author addresses the sad way the society deals with aging.


  1. Why Survive?: Being Old in America by Robert N. Butler

This book extensively covers the social, psychological, economic, physical and environmental aspects of being old in the United States. A Pulitzer Prize winner, this book suggests new reforms and programs aimed at redefining and restructuring senior citizens’ institutions. The book proposes ways of delivering essential services to the elderly and gives tips to loosen up life so that work, recreation, learning and social interplay can continue in golden years.


  1. Aging Thoughtfully by Martha Nussbaum and Saul Levmore

This book is set up as a playful debate featuring dueling essays between two friends and renowned professors (a lawyer-economist and a philosopher) about aging. The book addresses a lot of questions that seniors in the last third of life face. Both professors agree that people should be open about the challenges they face in old age, and plan better. The book is divided into 8 themes where their authors give their viewpoints on topics such as cosmetic surgery, retirement policy, charitable giving, inequality, friendship, post middle age romance, inheritance decisions and planned communities.



Reading is a fun approach to improving the quality of your life. Winter is coming meaning the season of reading is upon us. You will enjoy spending time indoors during the holiday season with a great book in hand. Use our list above to add at least two books to your reading list, or even better start a senior citizens book club.

Have you read any book on our best non-fictions books for senior citizens list? What was the last great book you read that you’d recommend to your fellow seniors? Keep the discussion going in our comments section below.

Wnat more? Check out more Great Books For Senior Citizens.

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