Books reviewed by James Woodward

Supporting theory and practic

New books in Religion, Spirituality and Aging from the Haworth Press,

All those in interested in the theory and practice of the support and care of older people should be kept informed about the books emerging out of the Haworth Press. This press have pioneered some innovative publishing in order to provide theorists and practitioners with a range of information to enable them to reflect on their work.

Religion, Spirituality, and Aging: A Social Work PerspectiveHarry Moody is an outstanding scholar and activist in the field of gerontology. In this book (Religion, Spirituality, and Aging: A Social Work Perspective, edited by Harry R Moody, {The Haworth Press} 2005, 329pp, pbk, no price marked, ISBN 0-7890-2499-3) he draws together a wide range of contributions from both professionals and non-professionals interested in the realities of ageing, religion and spirituality. This book would provide a good basis for stimulating inter-professional dialogue. The essays are an excellent range of reflections on the process of ageing; how we might research ageing, reflecting on what this might mean for practice and how researching ageing gives us some unique insights into our search for meaning.

Civic Engagement and the Baby Boomer Generation: Research, Policy, and Practice PerspectivesLaura B Wilson & Sharon P. Simson develop research policy and practice perspectives in their book (Civic Engagement and the Baby Boomer Generation: Research, Policy, and Practice Perspectives, {The Haworth Press} 2006, 265pp, pbk, no price marked ISBN 0-78900578-6). It examines the increase in numbers of older people and how we might promote a thorough understanding of the programmes, policies and civic opportunities available to people aged 50 and over. The book takes an unapologetic position of demonstrating that this increased number of older people offers a range of options, capacities and opportunities which should be grasped. On is left feeling that these opportunities are be grasped in America in a way that European countries are unable or unwilling to follow this example.

Aging Education in a Global ContextDena Shenk & Lisa Groger in Aging Education in a Global Context, ({The Haworth Press}, 2005, 149pp, pbk, no price marked, ISBN 0-7890-3081-0) offer a wealth of information resources and guidelines for teaching cross- cultural gerontology for the world-wide promotion of gerontological and geriatric education. The books model of course designs, class projects and suggestions for the enrichment of education for older people. The book poses some interesting questions about the nature of education and how far we are enabling citizens to grasp the opportunities of education at every stage of their life journey.

Community Mobility: Driving and Transportation Alternatives for Older PersonsWilliam Mann draws together a collection of essays about changes in driving patterns over time, the impact of climate conditions on driving, mental and physical health issues, self-regulation by drivers and driver safety. Very often, the decision to give up driving marks an important transition for older people and for some, the beginning of significant change leading to decline. Access, independence and mobility are key elements to successful ageing and this book offers some wise insights into understanding these issues for older people. (Community Mobility: Driving and Transportation Alternatives for Older Persons, {The Haworth Press), 2005, 160pp, pbk, no price marked, ISBN 0-7890-3085-3)

Victor Frankl’s Contribution to Spirituality and AgingMelvin A Kimble ranks alongside Harry moody as a significant figure in the study of spirituality and ageing. He was for many years, on the faulty of the Luther Seminary, where he was Director of the centre for Ageing, religion and Spirituality. Dr Kimble was a life-long student of the late Dr. Viktor Frankl and studied alongside him over a period of time. He was edited this book (Victor Frankl’s Contribution to Spirituality and Aging, {The Haworth Press}, 2000, 57pp, pbk, no price marked, ISBN 0-78901156-5) by way of offering an introduction to the importance of Frankl’s thinking in this area of religion, pastoral care and ministry. This book is an absolute ‘must’ for those who wish to expand their imagination and horizons in the pastoral care of older people.

Spiritual Wisdom for Successful Retirement: Living ForwardBrister offers some reflection on the nature of retirement (Spiritual Wisdom for Successful Retirement: Living Forward, The Haworth Press, 2006, 152pp, pbk, no price marked, ISBN0-7890-2804-2).  The book inhabits some of the questions, feelings and challenges of retirement from the inside and explores the journey that begins in life’s ‘third stage’, when employment is left behind and uncertainty lies ahead. Brister, quite rightly, sees retirement as essentially a spiritual issue and opens up a range of insightful connections for his reader. The book’s helpfully illuminated with case studies and would be a useful resource for individuals or groups wishing to study about or prepared for retirement.

Ageing Spirituality and Palliative CareElizabeth MacKinlay is a registered burse and an ordained priest in the Anglican church of Australia and has pioneered some excellent writing in the area of spirituality and older people. In this book she looks at how best we might respond to older people at the end of their lives (Ageing Spirituality and Palliative Care, {The Haworth Press}, 2006, 245pp, pbk, no price marked, ISBN 0-7890-3342-9). Like many of the Haworth Press’s books, the essays here offer a rich resource for both theorists and practitioners. It is particularly good to read essays about the recognition of the spiritual needs of older people and hold before the reader some of the challenges of dementia. There are a number of practical essay about how the shape of what understanding of spirituality might be practised in relation to end of life care.

James Woodward