Working with the Elderly: An Introduction. Deichman ES, Kociecki R (Eds), New York, Prometheus Books, 1989, 299 pages, $22.95, hardcover.
This book is designed to introduce students in social work or allied health fields to the complex problems facing an aging society. The specialists who have contributed to this book have experience with the elderly population in their respective areas of expertise. This book contains 1 2 well-written chapters dealing with various aging topics that help the reader to understand how to communicate effectively with the elderly, what the needs of elderly persons are, and how to develop a trusting relationship at all levels of service. At the end of each chapter, the reference and bibliography lists cite current books and journal articles that are excellent resources to the reader.
The book begins with a reflective chapter on the challenges of aging that face service providers. Subsequent chapters focus on the concept of communicating with the elderly population, psychological and physical changes that occur with aging, and how professionals can assist the elderly in adjusting to a variety of environmental settings.
The book then shifts to several chapters aimed at service providers of the elderly. One chapter provides an excellent overview of the various geriatric service provider roles that are emerging in the field of aging. Several other chapters are devoted to examining some of these roles in-depth, for example, the activity director and the health-care practitioner.
The next chapters take on the more global topics related to the elderly. The chapters on the legal, political, and ethical concerns of working with elderly clients are must-read chapters for all health-care professionals. These chapters are both informative and timely, with current developments concerning the elderly and decision making.
The final chapters discuss love, sex, and marriage in later years and death, dying, and loss. The chapter on sexual behavior among the elderly is outstanding in that it deals with the subject both with sensitivity and frankness. This chapter explores the need for sexuality among nursing home residents, which is often overlooked by staff members. The final chapter deals with death and dying, including the often forgotten subject of suicide among the elderly.
This book is an excellent introductory text not only for students entering the field, but also for health-care professionals, paraprofessionals, and nonexperts who work with the elderly. The comprehensive overview of contemporary gerontology is especially meaningful for those nurses contemplating a career in the aging industry. Experienced gerontological nurses who work with the elderly in a variety of settings will find the content useful and resourceful in their practice.