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 www.LeezasPlace.org.