The Old People: Inside a Home for the Aged. H ande Im an T. Pompano Beach, FL, Exposition Press of Florida, Ine, 1985, 147 pages, hardcover, $12.50
The Old People: Inside a Home for the Aged depicts an average nursing home where four male residents commit suicide in a single day. The author simply describes the daily routines of the nursing home, the administrative problems and their effects on. the residents, negative interactions between the staff and the residents or visitors, and the residents' loss of privacy, dignity, and respect.
This book brings to mind many important questions such as: How does one define quality of life? In a nursing home, how can the quality of life be increased? Is it possible for our culture to reorganize its priorities and bring back the extended family? What are one's thoughts about the ethical issues of euthanasia?
As a former nursing assistant and nursing student in various skilled-care facilities, I find this novel to be regretfully realistic. However, I am concerned about the overall depressing tone of this novel for the target audience, who may be the non-professional or anyone considering nursing home placement for a loved one. As a graduate student in gerontology, I can support the fact that "first-class" nursing facilities for the aged do exist. These facilities employ gerontological clinical nurse specialists, geriatric nurse practitioners , and other experts in the field of aging in order to provide the highest quality of care possible.
For the readers' benefit, I believe the author should have included an informative reference list covering possible alternatives to nursing home care and available community resources for the elderly and their families.