Leeza Gibbons is an Emmy-winning TV/radio personality, long-time Alzheimer’s disease caregiving advocate and co-author of the caregiving book “Take Your Oxygen First.” Her commentary is an LKL Web Exclusive.
Thank God for outspoken advocates like former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is using her considerable clout to underscore the urgent situation we face in our country due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Back in October, she authored a striking editorial in The New York Times on the growing epidemic of AD in our aging population. Because of the widespread impact of AD, a devastating illness that robs people of their ability to relate, remember and care for themselves, O’Connor put out a passionate directive, asking that the United States “deploy sufficient resources, scientific talent and problem-solving technologies to save our collective future.”
YES! It’s time we all “own” this disease and recognize that we must push harder for solutions and support. Having lost my mother and grandmother to the thief of Alzheimer’s, I fully support Ms. O’Connor’s timely goal.
Today I put out a similar call to action and invite you to join a new campaign - “Stand Together for AD: Strength and Support for Alzheimer’s.” The campaign was created with support from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and is focused specifically on helping the caregivers of patients with AD – many of whom are stressed and depressed, isolated and afraid . Because of the overwhelming pressure of caring for someone with memory loss, caregivers are at risk for a host of health problems. It is not a path caregivers should walk alone, and surviving often depends on knowing your limits and asking for help.
I know firsthand that the caregiving experience can feel like an emotional, spiritual and physical assault – a journey that many people, unfortunately, face alone. That’s why it is so important to take several key steps if you are one of the many people undertaking this difficult, but brave job. Everyone knows CPR, but for caregivers I recommend BBR: Breathe, Believe, Receive.
• Breathe: You can’t take good care of others unless you take care of yourself. Caregivers sometimes need to slow down and prioritize their own needs in order to be in the best possible condition to care for their loved ones. We say “Take Your Oxygen First,” in fact, we wrote the book on it!
• Believe: Know that you can do it – and that your efforts will be enough. Believe that, while also challenged, others have achieved this before you, get strength from them and know that what you learn on your journey will also lift others.
• Receive: Everyone has limits, and there will be days when you feel that you just can’t do it anymore. That’s why it is so important to be surrounded by an encouraging community and explore the resources around you. Sometimes you need to stop achieving and start receiving.
Taking time to breathe, believe and receive is a great start to accepting strength and support. Caregivers can find even more at www.AlzheimersDisease.com, including tips and advice on coping and staying healthy, access to a new caregiver support program, and stories from fellow Alzheimer’s caregivers.
Larry has been a good friend and supporter of our message. He was kind enough to write the foreword for my book, “Take Your Oxygen First,” and many of those he serves through his cardiac foundation understand the caregiver struggle firsthand. Through his numerous interviews with leaders and advocates through the years, he has always focused the spotlight on ways to make it better. I thank him for the opportunity to share this message and introduce the new campaign.
I hope you will consider yourself an ambassador for “Stand Together for AD.” Every time we offer our understanding, we begin to change the reality for a caregiver who might be exhausted and depleted. We can help build an open and knowledgeable community that provides a way for all of us to offer strength and support. I believe caregivers are a national treasure. They deserve to be recognized as the heroes they are and to know that we can all march in lock step toward caring for the people who care for people. It makes life just a little bit easier each day for our noble and indispensable Alzheimer’s caregivers.
Filed under: Alzheimers Leeza Gibbons LKL Web Exclusive
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Filed under: Larry King Live
By Terri DeBono and Steve Rosen
Directors, "Boyhood Shadows: I Swore I'd Never Tell"
While researching for our most recent documentary, we were stunned when we came upon one statistic: one in six boys are sexually assaulted by the age of 16!
I continued to be stunned at how little I really knew about this invisible crime… not until the 1970’s did child molestation get a name. Society does not want to hear or know about childhood sexual abuse….including me.
Who wants to know about Uncle Bob who is molesting boys? Or for that matter… coaches or priests or doctors or teachers?! This invisible crime goes unpunished because we won’t recognize it, and we won’t talk about it. Victims live in secrecy and society lives in denial.
While making the film, we heard one of the subjects compare addiction to forever trying to fill an empty hole. “Trauma creates a deep, dark hole in you,” the subject described during an interview, and you try to fill it. Whatever satisfies you, you just keep doing it because it fills up that empty hole.” However, the hole never really does get full. Especially not when the trauma is childhood sexual abuse.
It’s really the hardest thing that we have ever done as filmmakers…. when a therapist talks to these guys, he is trained to not take it home with him. Well, documentary filmmakers think exactly the opposite. You’re with your subject emotionally so that you can start following through and do the best job that you can later in terms of trying to tell their story.
I was not aware of the pain this causes. When I started realizing that these men in the film had carried the pain for up to 35 years without saying anything and here I am asking them to reopen that wound, I would think, “Oh my god! What are we doing to these people?
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Filed under: Abuse Boyhood Shadows
Check out these behind the scenes photos as Jack Hanna brings his animals to the Larry King Live set.
Filed under: Dolly Parton
USO photo by Mike Theiler
This series of LKL blog exclusives was written by five authors on their experiences from the recent USO tour ‘Operation Thriller’ in the Gulf to entertain our troops.
By Andy Harp
The USO “Operation Thriller” tour started with a conversation but ended up changing several lives.
Young Army Ranger James Webb enlisted in the military as soon after September 11th as he was able. James served two combat tours in the mountains of Afghanistan. I met James after a horrific motorcycle-truck wreck cost him the use of his leg and his Army career. Actually, James would say that it cost him his Ranger career. As a former Marine I understood, at least to some degree, how devastating this had been for him.
I had just returned from New York and the International Thriller Writers’ annual Thrillerfest conference. There, I had befriended such fellow novelists as Douglas Preston and Steve Berry. Before saying goodbye to James Webb, on impulse I asked him a question:
“What would soldiers think of a USO tour with novelists – you know, like the creator of John Rambo?”
“Are you serious?”
“I think so.” I couldn’t be sure whether David Morrell would commit to a tour, but I was curious to know if the rank-and-file interest for such a tour existed.
James Webb’s response was unequivocal. “Hell, yes,” he said. “We need a hero like everyone else.”
Filed under: LKL Web Exclusive
USO Authors’ Tour
“We joined the army because of your novel and the movie,” two wounded soldiers told me at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The novel and movie they referred to are First Blood, in which the character of Rambo was created.
“Which means that I bear a responsibility for your being in this hospital,” I told them.
“Not at all,” they answered. “Bad guys planted an IED that blew us up. You didn’t do that. We joined the military for the same reason Rambo did—to help our country. We’re not as badly injured as some of the guys here. We leave the hospital in a couple of weeks, and we want to go back to our unit.”
Whatever I expected at the start of the first-ever USO authors’ tour, it wasn’t a conversation like that. Our journey took us to bases in Kuwait and Iraq, where our group (the other authors were Steve Berry, Andy Harp, Douglas Preston, and James Rollins) emphasized that we wrote made-up action while the troops experienced the real thing, and all we could hope is that our inventions helped to distract them from reality.
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LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.
With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.
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