Prevention Magazine- Being A Caregiver—And Her Advice For Avoiding Burnout And Regret

 

Many of us know Leeza Gibbons as co-host of Entertainment Tonight—a primetime posting she held for nearly two decades.

But Gibbons has also hosted her own daytime talk show, written a New YorkTimes bestseller, and taken home top prize on Celebrity Apprentice after raising more than $700,000 for her non-profit, Leeza’s Care Connection. Gibbons started her caregiver-focused charity after caring for her own mother, who endured a fatal struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Here, she talks through her personal experience as a caregiver—first for her mother, and now for her ailing father. She also offers her best advice for caregivers, a group she believes deserves more help and support.

Prevention: Can you tell me about your personal experience as a caregiver?

Leeza Gibbons: I’m really proud to be among the many family caregivers out there. I always say we are the health care system in our country. This situation is not anyone’s definition of “happily ever after,” but so many people rise to become much more resilient and stronger because of these challenges. I know I did.

My family’s experience started with my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease. You would have thought we’d be prepared because we saw my mother’s mother with the same disease. But we got overwhelmed and felt helpless. My mother, like her own mother, struggled for more than a decade. She died in 2008. And then my dad—we never knew until he had a heart attack that he had coronary artery disease. He had complications from his by-pass surgery and was in rehab for a long time, so we’ve had a different experience with him that continues to this day.

MORE: 5 Surprising Causes Of Alzheimer's Disease

Throughout our caregiving, my siblings and our spouses have become very close, and that’s not always the case. Often, all the skeletons come tumbling out and it can be very difficult. But, we were fortunate in that we all had different things we offered to make it better. It is hard for some families to stay together on this. There’s always someone in a different place than you creating conflict or denial. It’s just the way it goes. So I always try to remind people, when that’s happening, the rest of the family is still hurting, even the ones acting out. Being flexible and forgiving—the two best F-words—are important, otherwise anger and disappointment can eat you up.

Continue reading Prevention Magazine article here.

  • Say Yes!
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Love Your Haters.
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Get Back Up.
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Use This Moment.
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Excited About Today!
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism

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