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10 Tips for Family Caregivers

  1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it’s up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

The Legacy of Life

How TV and radio host Leeza Gibbons is using her experience as a caregiver to help others

Leeza Gibbons is a 60-year-old Emmy®-winning host and New York Times best-selling author, but her roles as an entrepreneur, mother, wife and caregiver are where she’s made her greatest contributions in life. Gibbons’ agility and constant motivation to keep pushing forward helped her conquer the challenges she faced after becoming a caregiver for her mother, who battled Alzheimer’s for nine years. The situation ultimately led her to advocate for those affected by the disease as a tribute and lasting legacy to her mom’s life.

A Mother’s Care

Gibbons grew up in Hartsville, a small town in South Carolina, along with her sister and brother who loved spending time outside. As a young girl, life for Gibbons consisted of simple southern charm and values: cleaning your plate and respecting your parents.

“When I grew up, it was: yes ma’am, no sir, mind your manners and do your chores,” recalls Gibbons. “Everyone looked out for each other. I thought it was perfect then. It feels even more perfect now.”

From a young age, Gibbons was a take-charge kind of girl and knew she wanted to be a storyteller. She aspired to travel around the world filming documentaries, while her mother never failed to help her discover her strengths.

“I have my mother to thank for that,” Gibbons says of her talent for telling stories. “When I couldn’t figure out what to perform at the school talent show in the sixth grade, my mother suggested that I deliver a well-told story. Mom was great like that — always helping me find the best parts of myself.”

 A New Normal

Gibbons’ mother, Jean, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 62. Even though her grandmother also suffered from the debilitating neurological disorder, it was extremely hard for Gibbons to reconcile that the disease was now hitting even closer.

“All I wanted to do initially was protect my mother and spare her the pain and confusion that I knew was coming,” Gibbons says. “This disease doesn’t wait for you to get your head and your heart ready, though. It doesn’t allow you to adjust to the anxiety and depression, the frustration and feelings of emptiness that creep into your new, unwelcome world. It just abruptly breaks into your life.”

Although Gibbons did not want to face the fact that her mother — a strong, active and sharp woman — was fading before her eyes, she took it upon herself to learn all she could about Alzheimer’s.

“I went into therapy,” Gibbons says. “I read everything I could get my hands on, and then I got educated. I went to seminars and went through certification programs. I watched DVDs and downloads from experts and authorities. All of it helped, but nothing helped more than talking with real caregivers who had walked the path before me.”

Becoming the primary caregiver for her mother meant that Gibbons had to come to terms with living an unbalanced life. Her experience with her mother taught Gibbons that trying to do things perfectly, crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s, makes for a stressful life.

“Now I don’t believe in balance,” she says. “I think balance is bogus! When I was caring for Mom, I hadn’t yet come to that conclusion. I finally just had to realize that all I could do was my best, but I know my job suffered a lot. Even when I was at work, I couldn’t focus and had bouts of anger or depression.”

It was this experience that led Gibbons to become entrenched in the world of caregiving education and advocacy.

She eventually established free community support centers for family caregivers trying to answer the question “now what?” when someone they love gets diagnosed with a chronic illness or disease. This haven offers an outlet for information and help, something Gibbons says is second nature to her.

“They always say that you teach what you need to learn,” she shares. “For me, helping other families understand how to navigate the realities and challenges of aging parents came naturally. It was my own adjustment to my ‘new normal’ that gave me the inspiration.”

Gibbons says the simple thing for families to do when dealing with Alzheimer’s is to




She believes that connecting to your faith and to others who have walked the path before you can be enormously comforting for those going through the challenge of being a caregiver.

Taking Care of Yourself

Caring for an aging parent can take a toll on those affected by the circumstances. Oftentimes the health of the caregiver suffers under the weight of the stress and pressure to provide the best care possible.

“We have to identify and then take time for our sanity sanctuaries (happy places) in life,” Gibbons explains. “It’s imperative that we nourish ourselves because it’s a stressing, depressing, depleting marathon.”

Gibbons imparts that other caregivers need to “stop achieving and start receiving” to relieve some of the stress and anxiety associated with taking care of an aging loved one. She advises considering ways to unload some of the responsibility of caregiving.

“Let others help you,” she advises. “Take advantage of the technology that’s out there. For example, we got my dad a medical alert device. After Mom died, he’s been living alone, and I was worried. That’s a lot of peace of mind!”

Becoming a caregiver required Gibbons to be very candid with her children about issues such as death. She realizes that openness helps tremendously when going through any stressful, life-changing time.

“They are conversant about it, and the topic [of death] is not stigmatized in our home,” Gibbons says. “I hope I have modeled patience and empathy for them and given them a sense of urgency for living your life out loud and on purpose.”

Juggling caregiver responsibilities with her personal needs, Gibbons developed different ways to manage her stress and health, incorporating activities such as meditation, Pilates and yoga, taking walks, eating healthy, and taking detox baths with Epsom salt and lavender.

Gibbons says the simple thing for families to do when dealing with Alzheimer’s is to breathe, believe and receive. She believes that connecting to your faith and to others who have walked the path before you can be enormously comforting for those going through the challenge of being a caregiver.

Fulfilling Destiny

Because Gibbons had promised her mother that she would tell her story “and make it count,” she established the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation in 2002.

“It made me feel empowered,” Gibbons says. “Grateful. Humbled to be of service to a community of people who are the strongest, yet most misunderstood, I’ve ever met.”

She believes that opening its signature program, Leeza’s Care Connection support centers, was in her destiny. Her father has served as a role model for her throughout this journey and is a frequent volunteer at the center.

“Having my dad offering his wisdom and humor means everything to me,” Gibbons shares. “He has always been such an optimistic role model. I believe in trying hard and caring more, and this means I got a shot to do both.”

While she’s achieved a lot through her professional career, it’s her ability to offer education and resources for those in need that gives her a measure of success.

“I feel successful whenever I am able to offer my gifts and talents with a healthy mind, body and spirit, through love and gratitude,” Gibbons says. “If I feel good about what I’m doing and I’m emotionally and physically strong, that’s big-time success! My optics on my success are clearer than ever before, allowing me to drink it up; gratitude is the foundation of success. My husband and I must say it half dozen times a day: ‘We have the best life.’ Amen to that.”

Jodi Marsh is the executive editor for Healthy Living Made Simple.

Leeza’s Dare2Care Fair

Midlands native and TV journalist Leeza Gibbons was back in the Capital City over the weekend to host her first ever Dare2Care Fair and Reception. It’s all part of her Leeza’s Care Connection Foundation. The goal of the free fair and health expo on Saturday was to empower parents and grandparents with ways to be smarter, safer and live better, healthier lives.

The free fair was held at the Columbia Convention Center. There was also a reception and auction, that included dares from local and Hollywood celebrities.











Leeza Gibbons raises funds for caretakers at Midlands event

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) –On Saturday, hundreds of locals came together with local and national celebrities alike, all in honor of those in need.

The “Dare To Care” event was hosted by Leeza Gibbons to raise funds, awareness and support for her organization, Leeza’s Care Connection.

The charity aims to assist caretakers caring for those with chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s.

The day kicked off with a family fun fair for adults and children alike to enjoy, followed by a health and wellness expo. The evening commenced with silent auctions, complete with the “Take the Dare Live” auction, where celebrities gave out dares for participants to do for the highest bidders.

Other displays included the Thigh Master Showdown with Suzanne Sommers and Barry Manilow singing “Copacabana”.

Gibbons, best known as correspondent and co-host of Entertainment Tonight, says it’s all in the name of helping those who spend their lives helping others.

“We help connect them to services,” said Gibbons. “We help connect them to their strength. We help connect them to what they need to know to survive it for the long haul. So, we’re there for the husbands and the wives and the sons and daughters, the family caregivers, the care partners…who have a very tough journey to walk.”

Leeza Gibbons’ Dare2Care charity event comes to Columbia Saturday

The Dare2Care Reception and Live Auction promotes a culture of Kindness in Columbia. It’s planned for the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Proceeds go to help Columbia-based Leeza’s Care Connection of the Midlands.

Leeza Gibbons is an Emmy Award winner and health advocate. Her Dare2Care event with a Gratitude Event and Take the Dare live auction is on Saturday from 5 p.m. til-8 p.m. at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St, Columbia.

Photo: Leeza with her son, Nate, planting a memory garden at the opening of Leeza’s Care Connection. 

The event will showcase what Gibbons calls a “Kindness Mosaic,” a structure of multi-colored blocks featuring first person stories of the ways caring matters in the Midlands. Against that backdrop, local and national celebrities will challenge the audience to participate in live dares to raise funds to Leeza’s Care Connection; a free resource for those who are caring for a family member with a chronic illness or disease, such as Alzheimer’s or cancer.

“Dare2Care is not just a fundraiser. It celebrates our commitment to our community and challenges each of us to care enough to make it stronger” said Leeza Gibbons.

The Dare2Care event begins with a free family fun fair and a health and wellness expo starting at 11 a.m. before the paid event and the Take the Dare challenge which includes a silent auction with exciting items up for bid online now at Some prizes auctioned off to guests include: jewelry, trips, spa packages, lunch with a coach, and mystery wine and dine packages.

Cost for the event is $60 per person in advance and $70 per person at the door. The ticket price includes entry to the event, one drink ticket, and food. The night will include dare appearances by celebrities like Jay Leno, Suzanne Somers, Craig Melvin, Barry Manilow and others.
“Our Take the Dare Live Auction gives celebrities a platform to challenge our audience to put their hearts on the line by engaging in a dare for the highest bidder. Singing Copacabana for Barry Manilow or doing a Thigh Master Showdown for Suzanne Somers, it’s all in the name of charity” said Leeza Gibbons.

Tickets for the event and auction items are available for purchase at Additional information can be found at and

About Leeza’s Care Connection

Leeza’s Care Connection is a free community resource center supporting seniors, baby boomers, and family members of all ages and caregiving backgrounds. The energetic, uplifting, caregiver-focused center is a one-stop-shop-a place to get educated, find resources, gain confidence, and connect with others on a similar journey, so no one has to feel they are walking this path alone.

Celebs to join TV star Leeza Gibbons for Columbia Fundraiser


Imagine being dared by Barry Manilow to sing “Copacabana,” by Suzanne Somers to work out beside her, or by the Chippendales to mimic their dance moves – all on stage in front of a crowd.

Those are a few of the dares that will be issued at the Take the Dare Live Auction, part of a fundraising extravaganza Saturday for Leeza’s Care Connection in Irmo.

Irmo native Leeza Gibbons is hosting the event, which include celebrity appearances – by video and in person – along with a Dare2Care Fair, a Health and Wellness Expo, a silent auction, a Kindness Movement dinner and the Take the Dare Live Auction.

“Dare2Care is more than a fundraiser; it is a movement that underscores our belief that there is strength in kindness and caring,” Gibbons said.

The event comes about a month after a large oak fell during a thunderstorm on the Leeza’s Care Connection house, in the former Irmo home of Michael J. Mungo at 201 St. Andrews Road. The tree caused heavy damage to the roof and forced the organization to temporarily move across the street to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church while repairs are under way.

Much will be going on during the Saturday event at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, all designed to promote kindness, understanding, and fun while raising money for Leeza’s Care Connection.

The day begins with the four-hour free fair and health and wellness expo at 11 a.m., followed by the dinner and auctions from 5-8 p.m.

The fair will have food, games and activities for all ages, and is designed to have a nostalgic, throwback feel. “We wanted to make sure we were inclusive, that we reached across generations,” Gibbons said.

And she wanted it to be a gift to the community.

“Our thought was, let’s give something to get something,” Gibbons said. “We’re here for the long term. We want people to know we’re not always going to have our hand out. We’re here to offer our help.”

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 diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Leeza’s Care Connection, the signature program of The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, is a place for caregivers to go for support, to ask questions, find resources and connect with other caregivers.

When it came time to raise money, Gibbons wanted to do something that also positively impacted the community, and she knew that offering some “celebrity sizzle” would add interest.

“The whole idea is, how do you challenge someone to step up to the plate and show they care?” she said.

One visual way is by putting together a colorful wall that highlights acts of kindness in the Midlands.

“The idea is to create a movement of kindness,” said Marti Colucci, managing director of Leeza’s Care Connection. “We want it to be contagious in our community.”

Called the Mosaic of Kindness, the wall is a colorful way to remind everyone that the smallest acts of compassion make a difference. And when you add them all together, it can redefine a community.

At the event, four young people will introduce the wall and put the final brick in the mosaic. Folks from throughout the community have written simple acts of kindness on each brick like “drove neighbor to a doctor’s appointment,” “anonymously paid for someone’s dinner,” and “gave money to a young family.”

“Our way to get the conversation started is to dare our friends and neighbors to commit an act of kindness,” Gibbons said. “At the event, we will unveil more stories on how we have dared to care in the Midlands. That’s how we connect to each other.”

Gibbons wants the event to feel like friends are gathered for dinner and a game of charades. She will be there, along with local celebrities including Dawn Staley, Frank Martin, Ray Tanner, Joe Pinner, Tony Clyburn and Mary King. Several television stars will join Manilow and Somers via video, including Gary Sinise, Maria Shriver, Marie Osmond, Mario Lopez, Geraldo Rivera, Sharon Osbourne, Nancy O’Dell and Craig Melvin.

These celebrities will be “daring” audience members to do certain feats to show they care. The dares will range from the fun and silly, such as Lopez challenging folks to don boxing gloves, to the serious, such as Sinise challenging folks to stand up and show support and respect for veterans and Shriver charging everyone to work toward creating a world without Alzheimer’s.

Martin and Tanner will square off against each other, but in what is a secret to be revealed Saturday.

By the end of the day, Gibbons hopes folks will be reminded of what matters most, as they have fun and help raise money so Leeza’s Care Connection can continue its mission.

“We’ve tried to encompass everyone, from kids to seniors,” Colucci said. “We wanted to have it somewhere convenient, and wanted to do something that appeals to everyone. A whole family affair.”

How We Care!

See how WE Dare2Care! Join us June 24 for the Leeza Gibbons’ Dare2Care Fair and show YOUR support for our #caregivers! #dare2care #actsofkindness #leezascareconnection

Leeza Gibbon’s Dare2Care Fair

Our LCC Superstars knocked it out the park with this Leeza Gibbons’ Dare2Care Fair commercial airing on WIS!! Thank you to all who participated! Find out more at #dare2care #actsofkindness #leezascareconnection


Project Raises Awareness for Alzheimer’s and Funds for Leeza’s Care Connection

The “10 Mountains 10 Years” project began raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s on Mont Blanc in 2006 with a team of 9 international climbers called “the Regulars”. It has since grown to become one of the largest awareness projects of its kind. To date “10 Mountains 10 Years”  has gained nearly 500 team mates, and inspired a number of off-shoot awareness projects. It has also been the subject of a feature film documentary called “10 Mountains 10 Years” featuring Leeza Gibbons.


Although teammates are representing charity organizations in their own countries, here in the USA the “Ambassador Project” is raising awareness for Leeza’s Care Connection. Leeza Gibbons is a “10 Mountains 10 Years” teammate from Mount Washington (2010). Leeza’s Care Connection is a community gathering place for all types of caregivers.

Simone says, “Everyone who has joined us has come voluntarily, paying their own way, and cultivating their own grassroots awareness effort among their peers. Essentially the project acts as a platform for each teammate to champion the aspects of these diseases which they feel is most important to them, that could be research, caregiving, public policy or even diet & fitness which is becoming increasingly important to patients”

“The mountain is more than physical, it’s a metaphor for reaching goals in health, personal achievement, research, and in finding cures.” said Enzo Simone. “Once a person understands their role in conquering these diseases, the effort becomes clear. We’re not doctors, researchers, politicians, or other health officials. We’re patients and family of those affected, so our role is as advocates & activists, and this puts us on the front line of this battle to save ourselves and our family. Our goal with the 10 Mountains 10 Years Ambassador Project is to unite people from around the world to stand for themselves, represent themselves, climb mountains and conquer these diseases”.

This project gives advocates, caregivers and those struggling with disease the chance to face the mountain as a challenge they can work toward winning. They see the Andes Mountains and the Inca Trail as the physical form of everything that challenges their lives at the moment and say “If I can conquer this and make it to the ancient city of Machu Picchu then I can conquer anything in life. Nothing is impossible and if I can do this then science can find the cures we seek.” In the months leading up to the climb they will eat properly and train to improve their health, which will also improve their chances of going the 45 kilometers through the Andes to Machu Picchu. They will also engage public news & social media in their own personal Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s awareness campaigns.

Essentially they become ambassadors of the cause from their own local communities to those they meet from other communities around the world.

It is estimated that 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Unless a cure is found, the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s in the USA could range from 11.3 million to 16 million by 2050. Around the world the number of people struggling with Alzheimer’s is estimated at 44 million. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the USA, it cannot be prevented or slowed and there is no cure.

Today an estimated 7 to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease, and 40% of those people are under the age of sixty. Over the course of this year 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the USA. There is also no cure for Parkinson’s.

Goals of the Ambassador Project:

  • To unite & conquer Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease.
  • To raise awareness for both Alzheimer s & Parkinson s Disease by focusing attention on each sharing advocates personal experiences with both the local and the global community.
  • To create a sense of comradery among advocates, patients & caregivers around the world. Instilling the feeling that regardless of nationality, race, and religion we are all in this great quest to find the cures together.
  • To climb with 35 Alzheimer’s / Parkinson’s patients and advocates through the Andes Mountains, down the Inca Trail and into the ancient city of Machu Picchu on the 106th anniversary of its discovery.


To learn more about the 10 Mountains 10 Years – Ambassador Project

To follow them on Facebook:

2017 © The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation