Wholeness in Later Life
The book is wide-ranging and probably is most satisfactory when it is introducing the reader to concerns, issues, disabilities, client groups or fields of work in which the reader is a non-specialist. It is useful as an introduction and a survey of the major problems impacting on people with particular disabilities as they age. It is, despite its extensive bibliography, less satisfying for the specialist reader. It is well written, well researched as far as Australian and north American literature is concerned and reflects vast practice experience, and great sensitivity and empathy. The values espoused and the attention given to cultural differences and to diverse expressions of spirtiuality are very relevant to contemporary multi-racial Britain although the discussion arises primarily from experience of the present day polyglot Ausrtralia. "If we ourselves wish to be seen as whole people despite advanced age, we must give others the same dignity" (p115) sums up the basis of Ruth Bright's approach. Her appreciation of the lifetime needs of mentally ill people, and others with longstanding intractable conditions, whose vulnerability is excaerabated in later life, is very moving. She writes with great wisdom distilled from wide-ranging scholarship and a lifetime of practice as a music therapist, grief counsellor and multi professional team member employed in many varied health and social care contexts.'
- PSIGE (Psychologists' Special Interest Group In Elderly People) Newsletter
'This book would make a useful introduction to the issues faced by people as old age advances. It would be very useful for those interested in music therapy as a tool for working with older people, especially those with dementia.'
- International Social Work
'I found this book refreshingly positive and a pleasure to read. It is sensitively written, adopts a practical and constructive approach and uses clear, concise language.'
- Health and Hygiene
'I have read Ruth Bright's book, and think it marvellous. Ruth Bright has spent decades working with the ageing, and especially with music therapy, and she has written an enormously sensitive, comprehensive, and intelligent exploration into the strengths and problems of old age, and into the varied challenges of achieving `wholeness' in later life.'
- Oliver Sacks
'It is written in a way that makes it possible for non-professionals to profit from it. The book will provide ministers of religion who are neither professionals in medicine nor psychiatry with insights that will help them in giving spiritual guidance...'
- Ministry Today
'Watch out for me when I'm zimming around town, passing the bingo session on my way to our African drumming workshop. I'll wave to you with my dog-eared copy of Wholeness in Later Life.'
'An ambitious book, setting out a range of challenges that confront elderly people who are dependent on others for their care. The approach demands that the reader examine their own attitudes and responses to older people... Sensitively written.'
- Health Visitor
Examining the care of older people from a holistic viewpoint, Ruth Bright argues that all of geriatric care - physical, psychological, spiritual and psycho-social - is, or should be, intended to improve the overall quality of life for older people, so that they can actively enjoy life and do not simply have to endure it until death comes as a relief. To that end the book discusses the many different challenges that an older person might face, including physical difficulties, psychiatric problems, mental retardation, and the impact that a lifelong disability can have, particularly when it accelerates the ageing process.
The book also discusses the cultural aspects of ageing, and uses case studies to provide illustrative examples of how and why quality of life can and should be improved. In the second section of the book the author explores the use of music therapy as an example of preserving a high quality of life for older people.
By approaching all aspects of the life of older people, Wholeness in Later Life teaches us to appreciate the totality of a person who happens to have aged.
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