Leeza Gibbons Interview – Caring for Elderly Parents

Leeza Gibbons Interview – Caring for a loved one can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it can also be difficult and overwhelming. Many caregivers deal with guilt and worry about the amount of time they spend with a parent or family member.

I interviewed TV Host Leeza Gibbons, a longtime advocate for caregiver to discuss care giving tips and her personal experiences of caring for her father.

Leeza Gibbons Interview

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – If you’re caring for an elderly person, it must be very difficult and time consuming. How do you find a good balance… you’re operating as a caregiver, but you also want to give time to your family and yourself as well.

TV Host Leeza Gibbons – It’s so tough. How do you find that middle of the see-saw? The reality is, all you can do is your best and show up every day with your love and with your intention. But, I think that letting go of guilt is the really important saving device because guilt will eat you up. And, what happens with caregivers is they assault on their immune system and the job is so hard and so challenging that it can cost you ten years off your life. We call it compassion fatigue. That’s a very unacceptable statistic to me. So, the way to combat that is to make yourself informed about everything that’s available to help you on your caregiver journey, and I think technology is one of the most promising areas. For me, with my dad, I was worried about Daddy because he lives in South Carolina and I live in Los Angeles and I get back home a lot, but I’m not there. Even though my brother and sister live there, Dad’s independent and he’s a little bit stubborn. I wanted the piece of mind of knowing that dad had help around the clock. He didn’t want anybody with him. So, I talked him into getting a medical alert device. I think this was probably a big step forward for us, and beyond that, it actually saved his life, Lisa, because my dad had a heart attack, hit the floor… had he not been wearing his Philips Lifeline, he simply wouldn’t be with us. For me to know that help is a button push away, around the clock, that even if he’s passed out, even if he’s disoriented… it will automatically detect his fall and call for help when he can’t. So, it was a big sanity saver for me, and when I showed him the new technology they have, which is called Go Safe – and I want to show you because I’m actually wearing one – this is how simple it is. I mean, wearing one of these under your shirt, under your blouse or whatever, noone even has to know that you have it on. But, it will detect a fall for you and automatically signal help. So, if Daddy’s driving and he runs into a ditch for example, hits his head… well the cops aren’t coming. He can’t reach his cell phone. But, this would detect that and automatically send help. I think this is just one of the best, supportive bits of technology for caregivers.

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – It’s so interesting because I come from an Italian descent and typically you’d see a multi-generational household where the elderly are still living with you and that makes it very convenient to take care of them. But, that’s not very realistic in this day and age, a lot of them want to remain and independent and not feel that they’re a burden, so the worry is still there. Any more tips for how to alleviate your worries?

TV Host Leeza Gibbons – Well, that’s a trap too when you go “I ought to be able to do this, I’m his daughter. I should have done better. I should have been more patient. I’m the primary caregiver.” Well, those things are traps and that’s unnecessary guilt that is just going to bog down the path. The great thing about having a medical alert device such as the Go Safe, your loved one can also just push the button to say… I just wanted to check it out and make sure I’m not alone. Let’s say that there’s a storm coming in. Recently there was bad weather in South Carolina and my dad was able to just check in with the emergency response operator to see are there evacuations in this area? You can personalize the service and say if your loved one is independent and they come home and they’re locked out of the house and you’re not there, you can call push your button and the emergency operator will know to call your neighbor where there’s a key for example. So, you can really use this as tremendous piece of mind. And, I think it helps to alleviate depression and gets those who wear it – our seniors – out of the house and engaged in life.

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Our family does so much together and it is always my parents that keep us all in touch. Do you have any tips for how to keep a family together as the parents age?

TV Host Leeza Gibbons – We get so busy and sometimes families are spread out, but something as simple as having a little check in – maybe some of the participants are skyping in or phoning in or whatever. That’s what’s so great about today… we can arrange for these family conferences even if everyone’s not in the same place. And, to make sure everyone’s voice is heard because what happens when people feel left out because they have their own limits – either it’s an emotional limit, or a financial limit, or they’re physically limited from being there – that’s when families get ripped apart. So, to make sure everybody’s able to contribute, you know… maybe someone’s calling friends and neighbors, maybe someone’s sending cards and letters, someone’s making a scrapbook, someone’s doing the research and looking at the legal aspect of the aging process. As long as everybody feels their voice is heard.

Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Yes, very nice. Where can we go for more information?

TV Host Leeza Gibbons – It’s Philips Lifeline and PhilipsLifeline.com will get you there. I hope people will look at all the ways in which you can customize a service like this so that it makes sense for you. It’s all about aging well. We’ve got 10,000 boomers becoming seniors every day. We’ve got increase in chronic illness and disease so this is a challenge that’s not going away. We’ve got to figure out how to stay ahead of it.

See related posts below for more Oakland County Moms celebrity interviews.

To learn more about Leeza Gibbons, visit her website – leezagibbons.com

For more info on Leeza Gibbons interview topic – caring for elderly parents, visit PhillipsLifeLine.com.

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