It is hard to believe that more than 20 years have passed since the first edition of this volume was published in 1994. It has been a fascinating process analyzing the situation in 2017 and comparing it to years past. And it's been heartening to see the many ways in which older adults around the world have seen improvements in their circumstances. At the same time, the ongoing challenges are sobering for those of us in health care.
Updating and expanding the text has taken on personal immediacy over the years. We, the editors, and many of our longtime and excellent contributors are, ourselves, reaching old age. We have taken care of—and in some instances lost—older loved ones. We have adjusted to changes in our physical capacities, activities, social networks, and living situations. As is true for all older adults, these changes have tested our adaptive capacities and required flexibility and, often, courage. Thus, the material in this book has increasing salience in our own lives. This has encouraged us to be ever more mindful of reflecting not only the facts associated with aging but also the emotional realities of the experience.
Those of you who have read previous editions will note that the content has been dramatically expanded. We have tried to ensure a comprehensive picture of aging. We are well aware that this is not really possible in a single volume. Even if we could do so, it would be a snapshot in time. Writing and publishing a text of this scope takes time, and science and reality march on in the meantime. We hope readers will check the literature regularly to see what has happened since this book was written.
As one way to promote such exploration, we've added an online site to provide elaboration, additional resources, items of interest, and materials you might find useful in working with clients. We hope you'll find it helpful, and that you'll visit it often.
We made a concerted effort to address interprofessional care, particularly focused on physical and occupational therapy. It is inevitable that there will be those who disagree with our delineation of the two disciplines and will wonder why we didn't more fully incorporate others. Those disagreements and questions serve to highlight some of the very real challenges of instituting truly interprofessional care. We believe such care is in the best interests of clients, but we also know that professional boundary disputes and the realities of health-care systems and reimbursement make interprofessional care difficult in the real world. It is worth striving toward but not easy to enact.
We hope you will find the new content and features of this book helpful and engaging, and that the updated material is worthy of your time and helpful in your professional and personal lives.