Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Relationships in Old Age: Coping with the Challenge of Transition by Robert O. Hansson and Bruce N. Carpenter

Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Relationships in Old Age: Coping with the Challenge of Transition by Robert O. Hansson and Bruce N. Carpenter

Article excerpt

Hansson, Robert O., & Carpenter, Bruce N. (1994). Relationships in Old Age: Coping with the Challenge of Transition. New York: Guilford. 180 pages. Cloth 0-89862-198-4, price $25.00.

The first half of this book reviews the critical role of relationships in the lives of older persons and the problematic nature of these relationships as age and experience increased levels of dependency. The authors focus on relationships of older persons with their families, health-care providers, and social agency personnel. The second half of the book is devoted to the construct of relational competence. The authors provide a chapter on the theory and measurement of relational competence and review research indicating its importance in determining social functioning. The concluding chapters of the book provide examples of how this concept may be applied to practice with the elderly.

The strength of the book lies in its theoretical development of the concept of relational competence and the relevance of this concept to overall social functioning. Relational competence is defined as individual characteristics that foster the acquisition, development, and maintenance of satisfying relationships. With aging, persons are faced with negotiating increasingly complex relationships, be they with their adult children and grandchildren, social service agencies, or the health-care system. The book highlights the central role that competence in relationships plays in determining whether individuals successfully negotiate major transitions in later life. …

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