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The Lonnie Ali Interview (Page 1 of 2)
An Interview with Lonnie Ali - The Champs Champion
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away last week to much deserved remembrances, appreciation and praise for his lifeís work. If he was The Greatest, then the greatest for The Greatest indeed has to have been his beloved wife and partner, Lonnie Ali, a Parkinsonís disease caregiver and a tireless national caregiving advocate. Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief, sat down with Lonnie for a wide-ranging interview with this champion for family caregivers.
Gary Barg: Itís
impossible to talk about Muhammad Ali
and not talk about positive thinking.
What role do you think attitude plays in
the well-being of a caregiver of someone
living with Parkinsonís disease?
Lonnie Ali: Itís
important for all caregivers to keep a
very positive attitude and to realize
that this is a disease that can be
managed. Itís not something you have to
be afraid of; the more you know, the
more empowered you become. If you
have a positive attitude, you can put
things into perspective and actually
become a better caregiver. Keeping
a positive outlook on things, and trying
to convey that to the Parkinsonís
patient as well, is extremely important
in the management of this illness.
important for your own health and
LA: You need to
do things so you can keep that positive
attitude. You need to go out and
socialize and keep some of the routine
you had before. Itís important that you
realize that youíre not in this fight
alone, and that there are others who can
help you. Weíre here to help you. You
have to call on family members and your
support team to come in and assist you.
Itís important that caregivers realize
this, because so many caregivers are
used to taking care of people by
themselves and thinking that they are
the only ones experiencing this.
GB: I love your
Caregiver Tip Sheet. Itís so very
empowering. So much of your tip
sheet explores caring for yourself as
job one for any caregiver.
Especially if youíre the primary
caregiver, because everything rests on
your shoulders. If you fall or get ill,
then it affects everything. It affects
the person youíre taking care of, it
affects you and it affects the family.
So you are the lynchpin, and you really
have to make sure that you are well
cared for and not feel guilty about
taking time for yourself. I have a real
issue with that. Whenever I have to
leave and go do something, or take time
and spend it with friends, I feel very
guilty about that a lot of the time. I
have to talk to myself and say, ďYou
really have to have time for yourself.Ē
Itís important that other caregivers
recognize that as well. And donít let
people make you feel guilty for taking
time for yourself. You are entitled to
GB: One of the
tips you offer in your Young-Onset Care
Partner Tip Sheet is to get counseling
or to attend support group sessions. Why
do you think support groups are so
important to family caregivers?