Health & Wellness

Author and TV Host Leeza Gibbons Visits Overlook to Share Her Experience as Alzheimer's Caregiver

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Susan Thomas, R.N., B.S.N, manager of the Patient Experience and Volunteer Services thanked Merck for providing a grant to make the event possible. Credits: Kimberly A. Bolognini
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Leeza Gibbons shared her wisdom due to personal experiences of both her mother and  grandmother’s diagnosis and shed light on the importance and difficulty of a caregiver. Credits: Kimberly A. Bolognini
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"Take 2: Your Guide to Creating Happy Endings and New Beginnings" Credits: Kimberly A. Bolognini
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Leeza Gibbons shared her wisdom due to personal experiences of both her mother and grandmother’s diagnosis and shed light on the importance and difficulty of a caregiver. Credits: Kimberly A. Bolognini
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Claude Fusco told fellow caregivers, staff members and residents that since the year and a half that the center has been open, over 1,500 families have visited it. Credits: Kimberly A. Bolognini
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SUMMIT, NJ - Eager listeners piled into the Bouras Auditorium at Overlook Medical Center with their copies of  "Take 2: Your Guide to Creating Happy Endings and New Beginnings" by author and TV host, Leeza Gibbons.

The advocate for families affected by Alzheimer’s shared her wisdom due to personal experiences of both her mother and grandmother’s diagnosis’ and shed light on the importance and difficulty of a caregiver.

“As caregivers, we’re afraid we can’t make things better or make a difference, which is really understandable,” Gibbons said.

She reassured attendees that caregivers are perfect in their imperfections and they are the true heroes and support system.

“Successful people are the ones who become comfortable in an uncomfortable situation,” Gibbons said. “I think things fall apart in our lives so we know they can come back together, and they will come back together.”

Gibbons also discussed the importance of The Thomas Glasser Caregivers Center at Overlook as she is the founder of Leeza’s Place, a caregiver center for families and patients being affected by life threatening illnesses that is a place for those to be “educated, empowered and energized.”

“I’m so impressed by this community and Overlook. I can tell you from traveling around, this is facility and caregiver center is very special,” Gibbons said.

Advocate for Overlook’s Caregivers Center and caregiver of his late wife, Kathryn, Claude Fusco told fellow caregivers, staff members and residents that since the year and a half that the center has been open, over 1,500 families have visited it.

He explained that due to his stresses as being a caregiver and a single parent, he suffered a minor stroke. Fusco heard of a few hospitals in the U.S. providing caregiver centers for stressed and overworked caregivers and decided to pitch the idea to Overlook.

“This hospital just made it happen. I’m so proud the center became a reality and I see the work being done and the dedication being given to the caregivers and the stresses their going through,” Fusco said.

According to the Overlook Medical Center website, the Caregivers Center provides a “soothing environment where caregivers can relax, receive support and access helpful resources” and features:

  • Massages, Reiki and healing touch provided by license therapists
  • Massage chairs
  • A resource library
  • Quiet areas for privacy and personal conversation
  • Computers with internet access
  • Telephones, copy and fax machines
  • Kitchenette filled with beverages and snacks
  • Pet therapy

Amongst providing emotional support, Gibbons offered advice to those who attended during a Q&A portion at the conclusion of her motivational speech. She also gifted each attendee with a gift bag and copy of Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.

For more information, please visit, www.leezascareconnection.org, www.leezasplace.org and www.atlantichealth.org/overlook

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