Aging and Health Promotion, by Thelma Wells, RN, PhD. Rockville, Maryland, Aspen Systems Corporation, 1980.
While edited books of readings are necessarily limited in depth, they serve a useful purpose. This anthology has been organized around the theme suggested by its title and, therefore, contains a number of readings focused on aging and health promotion.
The readings in the book are loosely organized in terms of a conceptual framework into which the readings might be integrated and the potential authence for the book remains unidentified. However, the book contains a great deal of information that should be useful to nurses, social workers, planners of programs for the elderly, and students in nursing and social work education.
The format of the book and the size of the print contribute to its readability. The level of writing is quite consistent throughout the book and, therefore, does not distract the reader. The major theme of aging and health promotion is evident and serves as an organizational thread. One content area that tends to be repetitive is that of the demographic data, which is not uncommon in books of readings.
Articles selected for the book come from two journals: Topics in Clinical Nursing and Family and Community Health. The topics presented include issues related to older people, for example, the clinical aspects of the aging process and care of older persons, family relationships, aspects of aging in planned communities, preventive group interventions for the elderly, and community-oriented health maintenance for the elderly. Each of the topics is cogent and contains useful information.
Content on the review of the various types of preventive group interactions provides useful background information for group work. Evaluative comments on the outcomes of the various group interactions is particularly noteworthy, since the evaluative component is neglected most often.
The account of the treatment program for elderly hypertensive individuals also merits attention, since it points out the need for counseling, education, and referral, if necessary, in addition to the usual screening and monitoring procedures. Of interest, too, is the discussion about the levels of blood pressure readings used for screening purposes and the classification of the systolic and diastolic blood pressures as two separate and important issues.
Other content areas, for example, health care maintenance, nutrition, health education, and health care for older women, are pertinent and informative. Finally, the article on the Adult Health Conference is an excellent example of what can be accomplished in assisting older adults with chronic disease conditions to achieve a higher level of wellness while remaining in nonclinical settings.
A major strength of this book of readings is the optimistic approach to the promotion of health of the aging. It affords a practical reference for examining approaches to health care services for people with chronic conditions that can be provided to noninstitutionalized older adults. Methodologies include one-to-one strategies and small group procedures based upon a growing body of knowledge of aging. Issues presented are timely and provocative in nature. Thus, the book is recommended for readers from a number of disciplines concerned with health care promotion in the aging.