Posts Tagged ‘Caregivers’

Leeza Gibbons: Passionate Champion for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Marie and Leeza

I recently had an opportunity to interview Leeza Gibbons. While Leeza does have a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, she is also a powerful star in the world of Alzheimer’s caregiving. Both her mother and grandmother had the disorder. Leeza told me that “caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is a situation that can utterly consume the lives and well-being of the people giving care, just as the disorder consumes its victims.”

In 2002 she established the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and launched Leeza’s Place.  With four locations across the country, Leeza’s Place aims to provide a safe, home-like setting where family caregivers feel comfortable with their new caregiving challenges and can put together a team of support and resources to create their own strategy for coping.

Leeza said that “if caregivers are not healthy, mentally well-balanced and spiritually sound, then those for whom they care will suffer. Alzheimer’s caregivers are heroes. It’s such an incredibly difficult and isolating job. We need to provide a life raft to these people who are in a river of pain which quickly turns into a tsunami.”

In 2009, just a year after her mother’s death, Leeza published a book, Take Your Oxygen First,which I reviewed in this blog on May 1.

Leeza Gibbons’ book, her foundation, and the four locations of Leeza’s Place are all amazing resources for caregivers. You can learn more at




Advice from Leeza Gibbons: Breathe, Believe, Receive

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Advice from Leeza Gibbons, TV Personality and Caregiver: “Breathe, Believe, and Receive”

Breathe: Start by taking 10 purposeful breaths; breathing in sheer certainty that you are doing your best. Breathe out all the negativity that weighs heavily on you. This can change your physical and emotional state so you can better cope with your caregiver stress.

Believe: Now is the time to be an optimist. Know that your efforts will be enough. Believe that you can get empowered by others who have achieved this before you.

Receive: Everyone has limits. Know that real strength comes from knowing when to ask for help. When someone says, “Do you need anything?” say “yes,” and be prepared to tell them a specific way they could help.

Source: This is a shortened version of interview with Leeza on CNN, April 26, 2011.

Note: After Leeza Gibbons’ grandmother and mother died of Alzheimer’s disease, she decided to help other family members caring for their loved ones with the disease. She created Leeza’s Place, a facility for Alzheimer’s caregivers.



Alzheimer’s and Family Strife

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Having a loved one with Alzheimer’s can create tremendous stress in families. In families where there is generally good will, conflicts can typically be worked through for the common good. However, in families where people didn’t get along well before the diagnosis, it can create nightmares, especially for the primary caregiver.

The situation can become worse if some family members live out of town and only see the loved one for short, infrequent visits. They just don’t have the opportunity to witness the severity and frequency of demented behaviors you deal with every day. 

You may find you’re being criticized unfairly for the care you’re providing even though you’re doing a heroic job and making major sacrifices in your personal life to do so. This can lead to bitterness and create extreme disharmony in the family.

Here are a few things you can try to reduce the friction:   

1)      Be Patient and Understand Where They’re Coming from:  Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand why they lack knowledge of the situation. If you can stay calm you’ll have a better chance of decreasing stressful interactions.

2)      Educate Others about the Patient’s Condition: Make very detailed lists of the patient’s dementia behaviors and share them with family members. Remember, they’ve never seen many of the things you see on a daily basis. Update these lists and share them frequently.

3)      Have Others Care for the Patient for Awhile:  The best way to let other family members understand the loved one’s condition is to have them take care of the patient for awhile. Afterwards you may find you’re being criticized less and appreciated more.

Go to this Mayo Clinic article ( for more information on this topic.

Alzheimer’s Caregivers: The Staggering Financial Value of Your Services

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Caregivers Everywhere: The financial value of your service has been estimated, and the numbers are shocking.

All Caregivers: In 2009, family caregivers for loved ones (with all medical conditions) provided care valued at $450 billion. That’s more than the total sales of some of the world’s largest companies, including Wal-Mart’s $408 billion. It’s also more than the $439 billion in combined sales of Toyota, Ford and Daimler. (

Alzheimer’s Caregivers:
In 2010, 14.9 million family members and friends provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care to the 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The total economic value of these dedicated caregivers’ services exceeded $200 billion. (

Despite these numbers, however, the emotional, social and societal value of your work is inestimable by any measure.