HEALTH CARE OF THE AGING by

HEALTH CARE OF THE AGING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of papers--chiefly geared to a professonal audience--from two (1978 and 1979) conferences on aging, jointly held by the University of Virginia and the Veterans Administration. The articles are often too brief to be substantive and sometimes specialized in vocabulary, and the editors provide scant comment or continuity. The diverse contributors--nurses, social workers, doctors, and lay people (some of whom are elderly)--cover the social and health status of the elderly, communication and hearing problems, rehabilitation, and programs to improve health care (using, precariously, the VA system as an example). What is revealed, inadvertently, is how professionals in the field are spending their time these days; we have definitions like ""placement is the process of choosing a living situation most suitable to the individual""; discussions about title IV monies and CETA grants; such admonitions as ""tiptoeing around a problem never makes it go away."" Some of the experts describe only their own very specific work or programs in Virginia, some (most notably a nursing home administrator) don't sound very experienced, and some write with little consideration for general readers. (On renal disease, we are told about ""transplanting kidneys into aged recipients""; and the suggestions for nutritious low-cost meals assume that there really is someone out there--never mind the elderly--who considers a half-cup of gelatin or a peanut butter/chopped prune sandwich to be appetizing fare.) Worse, authors who might have made a solid contribution--James Folson on reality orientation, for example--don't have enough room to set out what they know. There are occasional strong, poignant moments (an elderly communications expert on the basic problems: ""now, there is only one person living who knew me as a ten-year-old""); along with some dead-eye, home-style advice on home nursing from a woman who cared for her invalid father for five years. But overall the collection is either too scant and simplistic for professionals, or too specific and complex for the lay public.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Univ. Press of Virginia