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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David O. Staats, MD (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Description: This book, written by two eminent geriatricians, discusses aging and healthcare for a lay audience.
Purpose: Its purpose is to educate older persons about the healthcare system and personal healthcare practices. These are very worthy objectives and the authors do a fairly good job with their approach.
Audience: The audience here is clearly a lay audience. Both authors are experienced geriatricians.
Features: The book is divided into three parts. The first focuses on the older person, describing the nature of aging and having chronic illnesses. The second explains healthcare financing and how to gain the most from interacting with the healthcare system — for example, being a patient in the hospital — to getting the most from visits to primary care and specialty physicians. The third part, on managing your health, describes testing for seniors for preventive health, medication management, and nutrition and exercise.
Assessment: There are many nice sections of this book. The description of a bad interview contrasted with a more open-ended interview is redolent of George Engel and a pleasure to read. In some ways, this might be better directed at the patients' physicians than at the patients themselves. This book takes quite a rosy view of aging, leaving out coping with disabilities, mental health, particularly an awareness of depression, how to become a caregiver, and a more extensive discussion of wills, advanced directives, and advances in end-of-life care. Finally, how all of these aspects of aging relate to family structure and dynamics would be a useful addition to this book.