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.