Jacqueline Marcell is a former college professor and television executive, who gives up her life to go take care of her elderly ill parents. She struggles through 40 caregivers and cries rivers for a year before she succeeds in solving the endless crisis and relates the story with love and unexpected humor. What she doesn't understand is that her father's deeply engrained life-long negative behavior pattern of screaming and yelling to get his way (though never at her before), is becoming intermittently distorted with the onset of dementia, namely--Alzheimer's.
After fighting through an unsympathetic medical system and enduring her “Jekyll & Hyde” father's rages, her ingenuity and loving persistence turns around a seemingly impossible situation with her difficult father, and changes a life-altering near-family tragedy into a success book that's having a broad appeal, considering that over 50 million Americans struggle to provide care for aging family members and friends.
Solutions finally arrive when she finds a geriatric dementia specialist who uncovers her father's early stage Alzheimer's disease. (His regular doctors missed it completely.) Medication is prescribed to slow the dementia down and improve cognitive functioning (Aricept, Exelon or Reminyl), and then the aggression, and (often-present) depression are treated.
After balancing her father with optimal nutrition, as well as Vitamin E, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory therapies, Marcell implements her own "Elder Behavior Modification 101", consisting of rewards & consequences (because his short-term memory was still quite good), and succeeds in turning around his bad behaviors--the majority of the time. When that doesn't work she uses distraction, redirection, reminiscence and validation… but discovers that the offer of his favorite ice cream usually works best to get him in the shower.
The final key is getting herself into a support group, and getting both parents out of bed ("waiting to die") and enrolled in physical and emotional therapies at an Adult Day Health Care facility--which completely turns their lives around at 80 and 85.
The impressive list of high-profile endorsements include: Hugh Downs, Regis Philbin, Dr. Dean Edell, the late Steve Allen, Jacqueline Bisset, Ed Asner, Dr. Bernie Siegel, John Bradshaw, Dr. John Gray, Betty Friedan, Julie Harris, Art Linkletter, Leeza Gibbons, Robert Stack, Dr. Nancy Snyderman/ABC News, Erin Brockovich, Johns Hopkins Memory Clinic, Duke University Center For Aging, Dr. Eric Tangalos/Mayo Clinic, Dr. Rudy Tanzi/Harvard Medical School, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, and the National Adult Day Services Association.
This report prepared by Jacqueline Marcell