Health, Well-being and Older People

Book Cover - Health WellbeingBy Jan Reed, David Stanley and Charlotte Clarke.
The Policy Press
ISBN 186134421X

Star rating: 4/5.

Personhood, empowerment and justice are not the usual stuff of a textbook on older people’s health and well-being, writes Jill Manthorpe. Indeed, the latter two terms could have been reversed in order since this book takes such a broad definition of health. In many ways it is ambitious in its task, particularly in its linking of research and discussion of services to older people’s perceptions.

But this is what is clearly needed: a bridge between people’s experiences and thoughts across the multiple divides of services, policy and life’s practicalities and unforeseen changes. The authors succeed in their bridge building, although there is some unevenness in the chapters. Their discussion of their own research and engagement with older people is much more convincing than their second-hand reporting of others’ work.

The book’s blurb promises glossaries and recommended texts. I couldn’t find these, but the activities suggested are feasible, which is not the case with many other books. The material is recent and clearly expressed. There are also extracts from a community theatre play.

These add humour but also make some telling points – and make for a highly readable text.

Jill Manthorpe is professor of social work, King’s College London.

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