Helping the Aging Family: A Guide for Professionals. Bumagin VE, Hirn K, Glenview, III, Scott, Foresman, & Co, 310 pages, $25.95.
In the preface, the authors provide a clue to what makes this book so useful for professionals working with aging families. The positives and negatives of intergenerational relationships and the effect of one generation's experiences on another are facts that are constantly addressed by professionals in the field of aging. The author's focus is positive, realistic, and hopeful.
The book is divided into three sections. The first deals with the initial encounter between clients and professionals. The use of vignettes in this section and throughout the book reinforces and clarifies. Clarification of expectations, interviewing techniques, problem identification, and ownership of problems can provide the professional with tools to use in working with clients.
The chapter on engaging families and groups will be helpful for any member of the interdisciplinary group. The discussion of the connection between the older adult-in-need and the functioning of the family is pertinent.
The description of the helping relationship where the worker enters the client's life, meshes with the client's system, and then extricates himself without injuring the client illustrates the delicate balance involved in the helping relationship.
The discussion of the physical, behavioral, and social problems of aging, maintaining a coherent self-identity, bereavement, grief, and depression is included in the second section. Each chapter of this section provides unique information on how to deal with these problems. Maintaining the continuity of self is an especially important concept and methods of accomplishing this are discussed.
Issues involved in termination of the relationship are included in the final section. Situations where termination is not advisable are also included.
Evaluation of the encounter is important to ensure quality care and also for professional growth. Factors such as cost effectiveness, impact of services and quality control, peer review, research, self-evaluation, and supervision are described as part of the evaluation process.
Some of the information presented may not be entirely new to the reader, but the author's method of presentation and positive approach to the aging family give the professional a new viewpoint and enthusiasm for working with the aging family.