NATIONAL CAREGIVERS MONTH

November is National Caregivers Month. For the millions of Americans who play that role for their loved ones, the toll on their own mental and physical health can be devastating. Television talk show personality Leeza Gibbons has endured her own stresses in caring for her family and she is helping inform others on how they can stay afloat in the most trying of times.  She joins us to share her insights. For more information, click here. 

Aired on November 28, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL CAREGIVER'S MONTH, AND IN THE U.S. ALONE, MORE THAN 65 MILLION PEOPLE PROVIDE CARE FOR CHRONICALLY ILL, DISABLED, OR AN ABLING FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND DURING ANY GIVEN YEAR.

WATCHING A LOVED ONE AGE CAN BE HARD, AND HELPING CARE FOR THEM CAN BE HARDER, WITH CAREGIVERS FACING INCREDIBLE PRESSURE, WHILE MAINTAINING THEIR OWN DAY-TO-DAY LIFE.

TV HOST AND ADVOCATE LEEZA GIBBONS UNDERSTANDS THE STRUGGLES AFTER TAKING CARE OF HER OWN MOTHER WHO HAD ALZHEIMER'S.

THIS HAS EMPOWERED HER TO HELP CAREGIVERS WITH HER CHARITY, LEEZA'S CARE CONNECTION.

SHE OPENED IT USING MONEY SHE RAISED ON 'CELEBRITY APPRENTICE.'

SHE JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT HER ORGANIZATION AND TO SHARE HER ADVICE AND SUPPORT FOR OTHER CAREGIVERS AROUND THE COUNTRY.

SO LEEZA, WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

SO GIVEN THAT YOU'VE HAD THIS FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE OF BEING A CAREGIVER, IN YOUR TIME, WHAT WERE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT CAME UP THAT YOU NOTICED, ISSUES THAT WEREN'T BEING ADDRESSED OR ACKNOWLEDGED IN THE GENERAL ATMOSPHERE?

FIRST OF ALL, I THINK WE DON'T EVEN RECOGNIZE CAREGIVERS.

IT'S THE FAMILY MEMBERS THAT SHOW UP EVERY DAY, THEY'RE LIKE FAMILY FIRST RESPONDERS.

EVERYBODY IS BAILING, AND THEY'RE RUNNING TOWARDS THE ENERGY TO TRY TO FIX IT.

SO JUST ADJUST FOG A NEW NORMAL, IT'S HARD, BECAUSE THAT'S CHANGE, AND WE ALL ARE -- HAVE A TENDENCY TO RESIST CHANGE.

BUT WITH CAREGIVERS, AS WITH ANYONE WHO IS SUCCESSFUL AT ANYTHING, YOU DON'T FEAR THE CHANGE, YOU LEARN HOW TO CHANGE THE FEAR.

AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL CARE GIVING EXPERIENCE.

THAT IS REALLY POWERFUL, BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE, PEOPLE WHO ARE ON OUR STAFF WITH 13, EVEN IN MY OWN PERSONAL LIFE, CARING FOR A CHRONICALLY ILL PERSON, THAT IS EMOTIONALLY TAXING.

IS THAT SOMETHING YOUR ORGANIZATION HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH AND PROCESS?

WE DO, BECAUSE YOU EMPTY OUT.

AS CAREGIVERS, WE'RE NURTURERS, AND 2/3 OF US ARE WOMEN.

THIS IS REALLY THE WOMEN'S ISSUE.

SO WE GIVE AND GIVE AND GIVE.

AND THAT'S OUR HONOR AND THAT'S OUR JOY TO BE ABLE TO OFFER THAT.

BUT THAT ALSO MEANS FAMILIES ARE UNRAVELING, EMOTIONALLY, FINANCIALLY, SPIRITUALLY, FIZ C -- PHYSICALLY.

OUR MANTRA IS, TAKE CARE TO GIVE CARE.

FOR SOMEBODY WHO MIGHT BE HEAR THING OR SAY THING AND SAYING OKAY, I HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER, THEY NEED MY HELP, BUT I'M ALSO A MOM, OR I HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB AND I JUST -- I DON'T EVEN SEE HOW I COULD BEGIN TO BALANCE ALL OF THIS --

THERE'S NO BALANCE.

BALANCE IN THIS SCENARIO IS BOGUS.

WE HAVE TO FORGET IT AND RESET TO MAKE SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE.

THAT WILL BE THIS OVERWHELMING, OH, MY GOSH.

IT'S A MATTER OF PRIORITIZING THEN.

I THINK IT'S A MATTER OF HAVING A PLAN, RECOGNIZING THAT YOU CANNOT WALK THIS PATH ALONE.

THE TENDENCY IS TO ISOLATE.

WE GET CAUGHT IN THE TRAP OF WOULD HAVE, COULD HAVE, SHOULD HAVE.

THOSE ARE TRANSPORTATION.

THERE'S GUILT THAT'S INSTRUCTIVE AND GUILT THAT YOU HAVE TO GET RID OF BECAUSE IT WILL TRIP YOU UP.

EVERY CAREGIVER HAS GUILT.

IF YOU'RE FEELING IING TINGS OFT BECAUSE YOU LOST YOUR TEMPER, THAT'S INSTRUCTOR.

THAT'S WHAT I CALL THE GOOD GUILT.

THE OTHER GUILT IS JUST NOT HELPFUL ON YOUR JOURNEY, AND IT WILL BRING YOU DOWN.

ANY OTHER TIPS THAT YOU CAN GIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH THIS?

I ALWAYS SAY THERE ARE SOME 'F' WORDS THAT ARE HELPFUL DURING THIS JOURNEY.

ONE IS FLEXIBILITY, THE OTHER IS FORGIVENESS.

FORGIVE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU CAN'T ALWAYS MAKE IT BETTER.

YOU WILL MESS UP.

FORGIVING YOUR LOVED ONES FOR HAVING THE AUDACITY TO GET SICK.

YOU KNOW, OUR PARENTS, WE THINK THEY'RE GOING TO BE ROCK SOLID, THAT'S WHO THEY REPRESENT TO US.

AND OUR HEROES FOREVER.

GIVEN THE FACT THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO CREATE THIS AMAZING ORGANIZATION WITH MONEY YOU WON ON 'CELEBRITY APPRENTICE,' WHAT WAS YOUR FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH THE PRESIDENT?

I KNEW DONALD TRUMP'S BOARD ROOM.

A PLACE ON THAT SHOW IS KNOWN FOR BEING SO FEROCIOUS, IT BRINGS THE TOUGHEST GUYS AND MEANEST GIRLS TO TEARS AND TANTRUMS.

FOR ME, IT WAS A PLACE TO REALLY PUT THE FOCUS ON MY BURNING DESIRE.

I THINK THAT'S HOW I WON.

REALLY EASY TO DISMISS OH, SHE'S NOT GOING TO GET VERY FAR, SHE'S TOO NICE OR WHATEVER.

BUT NEVER UNDERESTIMATE SOMEBODY WHO HAS A BURNING DESIRE.

AND I WANTED TO HONOR MY MOTHER'S JOURNEY WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE.

I WANTED TO RECOGNIZE CARE GIVING FAMILIES THAT.

'S WHAT GOT ME TO THE END.

THEN WHEN TRUMP ANNOUNCED -- TO ME, IT WAS LIKE WHOEVER GET INTO THAT OFFICE IS DEALING WITH UNPRECEDENTED NUMBERS OF A GROWING, AGING POPULATION LIKE WE'VE NEVER SEEN.

WE HAVE 10,000 BOOMERS TURNING 65 EVERY DAY, SO LOOKING AT CARE GIVING AND THE INCREASE OF CHRONIC ILLNESS AND DISEASE, THAT'S A VERY REAL, I HOPE, PRIORITY FOR TRUMP.

I LIKE TO SUPPORT CAREGIVERS BY HAVING THEM LOOK AT WHAT'S AVAILABLE.

I TELL YOU, THERE'S A LOT OF TECHNOLOGY OUT THERE NOW THAT IS OFFERING TREMENDOUS PIECE OF MIND AND TREMENDOUS SAFETY.

MY DAD HAD A HEART ATTACK AS YOU SAID.

AND HE, AFTER MY MOM DIED, LIVED ALONE.

SO I WAS WORRIED ABOUT MY DAD, WHAT IF HE FELL?

I LIVE THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY.

SO I GUILTED HIM INTO GETTING A MEDICAL ALERT DEVICE, BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT IT.

OF COURSE NOT.

RESISTANT, PROUD.

YES.

AND THEY DON'T NEED A BABYSITTER.

THAT'S IT.

NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME.

SO I COULD RECOGNIZE THAT WAS HIS VULNERABILITY AND HIS FEAR.

I SAID, DADDY, IT'S FOR ME, AND IT REALLY WAS.

I WORRY AND I KNOW YOU DON'T WANT ME TO BE WORRIED.

SURE ENOUGH, HE HAD A HEART ATTACK.

HAD HE NOT BEEN WEARING THE LIFELINE, WE WOULD NOT HAVE HAD MY DAD.

SO BUILD A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY.

THAT'S IT.

WE WAIT A WHILE TO DO THAT.

WE'RE RESISTANT TO THAT.

IT IS GETTING BETTER.

SO DURING THIS MONTH, IF THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE YOU, AND I KNOW WHO ARE CARING FOR SOMEONE TO SAY I KNOW IT'S HARD WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT GOES A LONG WAY.

DOESN'T IT?

I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN US.

THIS IS SOME REALLY HEALING INFORMATION AND TIPS THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN USE NOW OR IN THE FUTURE.

YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION, FACTS ARE THERE HOW TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH THE TECHNOLOGY PIECE AT PHILLIP'S LIFELINE.

EXCELLENT.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LEEZA GIBBONS'S ORGANIZATION, LEEZA'S CARE CONNECTION, GO TO OUR WEBSITE, METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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