Mark H. Beers, Editor, Thomas V. Jones, Editor . Merck Research Laboratories $29.95 (961p) ISBN 978-0-911910-36-0

This mammoth reference book begins with the premise that "[t]he need for good, unbiased health care information runs deep, whether people are seeking to become more active in caring for themselves or others." It then goes on to provide for that need, covering all aspects of health changes through the process of aging, and explaining how to prevent or manage those changes. The book is easy to navigate and cross-reference, and includes simple but useful drawings to explain such conditions as aneurysms, heart valve disorders and pressure sores (aka bedsores). The first two sections address "the fundamentals of aging" (why aging occurs, how it affects the body and how it's changing the U.S.) and "caring for self and others," including preventive care, nutrition, appropriate use of drugs and other topics. The authors then go through an in-depth discussion of medical conditions that can affect the elderly, explaining symptoms, treatment and aftercare. This chapter supplies sound information to enhance interaction with health care providers and enable continuity of care, for both patients and caregivers. The final section covers social, legal and ethical issues and includes a guide to paying for health care and a useful reference table for prescription drugs. Twenty-five inspiring essays by seniors are sprinkled throughout the text, giving this encyclopedic text a human aspect. This excellent handbook is an essential resource for mature people, their families and caregivers. (On sale May 18)

Forecast: With a recognizable name and authoritative voice, this manual speaks to both older adults and those who care for them. The publisher plans a 100,000-copy first printing, consumer ads and an extensive media tour.

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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