April 16th, 2014
Editor’s note: This post responds to the April Narrative Matters essay by Gary Epstein-Lubow, a geriatric psychiatrist, which recounts the life-changing stress experienced by relatives who care for loved ones with dementia. Epstein-Lubow’s essay is freely available to all readers, or you can listen to him read it. You can also read an abridged version of the essay published April 15 in the Washington Post.
When my daughters were five and six years old, I took them to visit my grandmother in the Rosa Coplon Home in Buffalo, New York.
“Bubbie,” I said, “These are my little girls. Do you remember when I was this age?”
She looked at me and at them and finally held out her arms to embrace us and said (in Yiddish), “I don’t know who you are, but I know you belong to me.”
That experience so affected my elder daughter that when she was a teenager she undertook a project interviewing older people and creating a radio program from the tapes.
I thought of this moment when I read Gary Epstein-Lubow’s Narrative Matters essay, “A Family Disease: Witnessing Firsthand The Toll That Dementia Takes on Caregivers,” published in the April issue of Health Affairs.Read the rest of this entry »