Leeza Gibbons knows all too well if you’re taking care of a loved one, you’re probably not taking care of yourself. As her mother was dying of Alzheimer’s disease, Leeza joined the millions of family members who try to hang on to themselves while the one they love is slipping away. Now, she is a passionate advocate and voice for caregivers, whom she calls those "dedicated souls who show up for duty every day."
"Caregiving unlocks the hero inside you," Gibbons says, "but it’s not easy and there are strategies for surviving and thriving."
She will share her personal insights as she visits with attendees and delivers the keynote speech for an upcoming conference in Kansas City. The free half-day event, held exclusively for caregivers, takes place on Thursday, May 3, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Located at the Sprint Auditorium and Winter Garden at 6200 Sprint Parkway, the conference will feature product displays, resource materials, door prizes and provide massages and pampering for attendees. Light refreshments also will be served. Reservations are still available and can be made by calling 913-231-1678.
"In the United States, there are over 65 million caregivers currently taking care of someone who is going through a health crisis. These are husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, family and friends," said Gibbons. "Many times the caregivers are failing faster than ones for whom they care. That’s what we’re all about with this conference–reminding caregivers to restore and replenish themselves so they can go the distance."
Gibbons created The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation in 2002 as a promise to her mother to "tell her story and make it count" after her mom’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Leeza’s Place, the signature program of the foundation, first opened its doors the following year in 2003 as the manifestation of what Gibbons "wished we had when we were going through this journey." Also known as "A Place for Caregivers," Leeza's Place is a community gathering place and resource center providing free support services, resources and programs for family caregivers taking care of a loved one with a memory disorder or any chronic and/or progressive illness. All of the programs at Leeza's Place serve the unique needs, values, pressures and goals of caregivers and their loved ones.
At the conference, Gibbons will be signing copies of her award-winning book, Take Your Oxygen First, which tells caregivers to nourish themselves in mind, body, soul and spirit before taking care of their loved ones.
The conference is sponsored by Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s largest provider of senior accommodations and related services. The company has nine communities in the Kansas City metro area.
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