‘Elder Rage’: New Book Details Heartache of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, Offers Advice, Warning Signs

‘Elder Rage’: New Book Details Heartache of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, Offers Advice, Warning Signs
Elder Rage: How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents is a new book by Jacqueline Marcell, who details her experiences caring for her elderly parents, both of whom had Alzheimer's disease. She has written the book as an aid to other caregivers. Initially, both her parents were undiagnosed. Marcell describes the struggle in her book: "For eleven years I pleaded with my ‘challenging’ elderly father to allow a caregiver to help him with my ailing mother, but he always insisted on taking care of her himself. Every caregiver I hired soon sighed in exasperation, ‘Jacqueline, I just can't work with your father. His temper is impossible to handle and he’s not going to accept help until he's on his knees himself.’" Her father's pattern of anger masked his own symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. His rage was both a lifetime coping mechanism, as well as a consequence of the neurological condition. "I didn't understand that my father was addicted and trapped in his own bad behavior of a lifetime of screaming and yelling to get his way, which was coming out intermittently in spurts of over-the-top irrationality," Marcell writes. "I also didn't understand that ‘demented’ does not mean ‘dumb’ (a concept not widely appreciated), and that he was still socially adjusted never to show his ‘Mr. Hyde’ side to anyone outside the family. Conversely, my mother was as sweet and lovely as she’d always been." Her book contains helpful information about Alzheimer's that can be useful to caregivers, including 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's and information about treatments. Although Alzheimer's currently has no cure, symptoms can be managed with medications and
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