Sleep Disorders and Insomnia in the Elderly J.L. Albarede, J.E. Morley, T. Roth, BJ. Vellad (Eds.). New York: Springer, 1 993; 232 pages, $44.
This volume, dedicated to sleep disorders in the elderly, is the seventh in a series on facts and research in gerontology. This monograph reports the reviews, facts, and research in sleep disorders and includes the participation of an international group of experts in the field of gerontology, psychiatry, and neurology as it relates to sleep disorders.
Roth notes in the introduction that sleep in the elderly is a clinical challenge. He notes that sleep and gerontology have several common features and that "both disciplines have suffered from years of medical and scientific neglect." Roth also notes that the successful management of sleep disorders provides the clinician with an opportunity to improve the quality of life in the elderly.
Examples of chapters include epidemiological data on sleep problems in the elderly; sleep apnea syndrome; movement disorders in the elderly; sleep in Alzheimer's disease; sleep loss in aging; circadian rhythm modifications in aging; noise and predictors of sleep in the nursing home environment; sleep disorders and falls in the elderly; and nocturnal agitation. Also, there are six chapters devoted to discussion of the use of hypnotics in the elderly. The last chapter, which gives the clinician a set of questions that should be asked of elders who have a problem with insomnia, is informative.
The book is full of research and reviews of research findings by the participants. It is an interesting reading and a recommended addition to the library of any nurse working with the elderly.
The main difficulty found with this volume was that the research findings were not always conclusive. So many times the reader comes away with more questions than answers about the research findings on a particular subject area. This may not be the fault of the participants, because the participants were discussing research findings and many times indicated differences in the research studies. However, this brings the reader to conclude that the subject of sleep disorders in the elderly needs more research.