Psychological Distress in Aging: A Family Management Model. Eyde DR and Rich JA.
Billed as "a resource to help you help families respond to the needs of their older members, " this book begins with the usual statistics on aging, including the standard "5% in institutions" figure. A detailed discussion of theories of aging is presented with only one paragraph allotted to a cursory definition of family systems' theory. Had this situation been reversed, the reader would be better prepared to appreciate subsequent chapters.
Rich, a psychiatrist, and Eyde, a therapist, campaign for a shift from fragmented health care to an integrated model that focuses on normalization and rehabilitation of the older individual experiencing distress of a biologic, psychologic or social nature. Although most of their discussion about a holistic approach to healthcare centers focuses on the system at large, there are a few pages on the family as case managers and "observers of change." The point made by the authors that families are the best historians available when treating one of their members is true. However, family roles other than that of observation of change in the person/ patient are not clearly identified.
Long-term institutionalization is the main alternative discussed in caring for the impaired elderly and, although a detailed discussion of functional assessment is provided, the terminology tends to be complicated for a novice in the field.
Although there are isolated sections that are relevant and helpful, eg, the environmental checklist, and formula for understanding behavioral transactions, the greater portion of the volume is more tedious and difficult to absorb.
In summary, this book would be best utilized by psychogeriatric clinicians who have a fairly advanced knowledge base. Such clinicians could then interpret the information presented and apply it to families accordingly.