I just finished Elder Rage by Jacqueline Marcell based on a recommendation and found it an interesting read. This book is a true story about the author’s struggle to care for her two elderly parents, both of whom suffered from serious physical ailments as well as dementia. The kicker is that her father was also a raging lunatic unable to control his volatile temper, putting them all in constant danger based on his nasty verbal and often physical abuse.
While the author’s desperate situation was extreme, I did personally relate to the never-ending verbal abuse from a demented parent unwilling to admit they need help and for that reason unable to offer gratitude for caregiving. Surprisingly, this story did not end with the death of the author’s parents as one might expect, but instead with the author triumphantly overcoming obstacles and providing a newfound happiness for her sick parents in their final years together. My favorite part of Elder Rage is the last chapter, which reveals a truth most people will not discover until their own dementia crisis is over: hindsight is 20/20.
I discovered this truth the hard way myself. Once you have suffered through the unbearable long journey caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia and dodged all the bullets you couldn’t possibly foresee, you will certainly realize many things you could have done to improve the situation for yourself and your loved one. Marcell includes a very helpful list of things she would have done differently looking back on her ordeal. There is a lot of hard-earned wisdom here, a to-do list of sorts for those currently on the difficult journey or anticipating it in the future.
There is also an extensive appendix to this book full of useful information for those looking for specific help with topics like behavior modification, long-term care insurance, Alzheimer’s disease information including warning signs, diagnosis, stages and statistics, and a guide for treating aggression in dementia from Dr. Rodman Shankle, a specialist in dementia.
All in all, Elder Rage is a worthwhile read for a shocking personal story with an unexpected happy ending followed by a wealth of dementia information for difficult and aggressive patients.