Caring for the caregiver

Written by Nicole Scheidl

May 2, 2011

Dr. Marc E. Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist and mental health director for the Miami Jewish Health Systems was featured in The New York Times Sunday edition. The focus of the article is on the work he does with caregivers. The highlight of the article are the self-styled “Merry Widows”, a group of women who moved to the retirement home when their husbands were suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. While treating their husbands disease, he became their doctor as well, helping them deal with the depression and anxiety that so often accompanies the caregiver during the progression of the disease. Dr. Agronin’s approach, using group therapy, anxiety medication when needed and encouraging new bonds of friendship, helped these women, ‘walk down the mountain‘.

Without a doubt, the mountain of old age, with its physical decline and the accumulated grief through the steady loss of loved ones exacts a toll. Dr. Agronin treats this process and the accompanying grief as part of the human condition and not a psychiatric problem. Using the human need to talk and connect as the best way to deal with grief, he is a lifeline for many of his patients.

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1 Comment

  1. Maria

    Well Baby Sis….most of your siblings are over 40 and this “most ancient sister” is 50 and none of us has had early onset Alzheimer’s….yet. Out of Dad’s 8 siblings, just 2 (a brother and sister) developed Alzheimer’s before 80. Dad is the youngest of the three to develop it earlier (by his late 60s–dementia and then the Alzheimer’s came on in his early 70s). I am in contact with most of our cousins, and as far as I know–no one has dementia or Alzheimer’s. This is particularly interesting since the 6 children of Uncle Bud (who was the brother with Alzheimer’s) are now in their late 60s and early 70s and none have it. So keep exercising, eat those red fruits and veggies, take your vit. D and omega 3s, and PRAY HARD. Maybe we won’t get it after all.

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