Aging Well: The Complete Guide to Physical and Emotional Health By Jeanne Wel and Sue Levkoff; 2000; New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Ine; 373 pages; son cover; $17.95
Aging Well: The Complete Guide to Physical and Emotional Health, authored by a duo of Harvard Medical School faculty members, offers variegated topics appertaining to human aging. The purpose of the authors in writing the book is to help persons prepare for aging. The volume is a wellspring of sagacious advice and scintillating discourse regarding timely, important, agingrelated issues, which should give older readers, as well as younger ones, the tools to protect their good health. Although, style-wise, the book is lay-person friendly, prospective readers should understand it is not targeted to clinicians or researchers.
In 23 chapters, this book describes the aging process and how to stay well. Additionally, three appendices, which identify entities associated with aging, adjoin the textual material. Many of the chapters focus on a particular organ of the body, or on an organ system; and are structured as a sort of annotated medical lexicon, tailored to fit lay readers.
There are particular chapters, for example, focusing readers' attention on the heart, mind, senses, and on the reproductive, musculoskeletal, urinary, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems. The respective chapters describe, with brevity and in lay terms, changes that may occur in particular organs or organ systems as one ages; attendant health problems, including symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment; and prophylactic measures.
A quite salutary feature of the book is that further chapters devote sensitive discussion, and offer a plenitude of prescriptive advice, regarding such topics as end-of-life decisions. It includes a discussion of such issues as pain management, hospice care, advance directives, and euthanasia; caregiving and assisting aging parents; retirement, and an array of attendant issues; and death and bereavement. Although the contents of this book are probably over-diluted for the health care professional, and the lack of references may be displeasing to research-minded readers, it proffers lay readers a rich abundance of timely, practical knowledge relevant to getting well and staying well.
It is hoped, however, that the lay reader will not misconstrue the book as a surrogate for counsel and treatment by qualified health care professionals. Moreover, even though the book very adroitly describes medical prophylaxis and treatment, based on knowledge and information available at a given point in time, readers should remain mindful that the continuing evolution of medical knowledge, and resultant changes in prophylactic and treatment measures, is an ineluctable reality affecting medical science. With the foregoing concerns, the book should be illumining for all lay persons.