The Encyclopedia of Elder Care By Mathy D. Mezey, RN, EdD (Editor); 2004; Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books; 823 pages; soft cover; $30
The Encyclopedia of Elder Care is structured as a wide-ranging collection of encyclopedic entries, which expertly, if pithily, describe multitudinous words and terms pertinent to the expansive, interdisciplinary field of elder care. This comprehensive encyclopedia has been crafted by a sizable pantheon of distinguished contributors, drawn from disparate academic and professional realms germane to elder care. The cardinal purpose in putting together the encyclopedia is to provide state-of-the-art information regarding issues of professional relevance to health care providers and others involved with caring for older individuals. In fact, the amalgam of elder-carerelated words and terms comprising the encyclopedia is a highly-commendable contribution to the elder-care literature, which should be of edifying value to all those with an interest in expanding their reservoir of elder care knowledge.
The briefly-annotated descriptions embodying the various encyclopedic entries are roughly akin to academicreview articles, albeit of a highly-abbreviated nature. Stylistically, the various entries are not overly didactic; and may be quite understandable to readers without advanced academic backgrounds. Additionally, many of the entries direct the curious reader to cross-references intended to steer the interested reader in the direction of other entries of related interest; and to Internet key words and websites, which may assist the reader in bridging the respective "print" and "electronic" domains of elder care. The profusion of academic references populating many of the entries may also be conducive to further study of particular words and terms described in the encyclopedia. Subject and contributor indexes adjoin the textual body.
The entries, collectively, traverse an impressively-wide swath of the vast, interdisciplinary expanse of elder care, with particular entries reaching broadly to: nursing, medicine, dentistry, social work, and physical therapy. Numerous issues concerning the diagnosis, management, and treatment of sundry diseases are broached, as are many issues relevant to caregiving. Particular entries also consider briefly some of the multitude of policy and social-related concerns relevant to elder care.
To the considerable credit of the many contributors, the information presented in the encyclopedia is generally very informative and instructive; and the encyclopedia is certainly a timely, significant addition to the evolving body of elder-care literature. It is important to recognize, however, that the entries comprising the encyclopedia are highly-encapsulated overviews, describing words and terms in a considerably-diluted fashion. Moreover, the entries show snapshots of particular issues, at a particular moment in research time. For the serious-minded student of elder care, the obligation to seek to remain up-todate is truly unending in nature. With these warnings, the encyclopedia is very highly recommended to: nurses, social workers, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, dentists, and to all those with an interest in becoming better-educated about elder-carerelated issues.