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The Debbie Reynolds Interview (Page 2 of 2)

An Interview with Debbie Reynolds

GB:  How did your parents deal with the problem?

DR:  I had to put them in diapers. My father wouldn’t discuss it. I was the only one he would allow to change his diapers; otherwise, he would remain in it and this was impossible, so it became extremely hard to care for him. My mother finally put him in a home against all of my wishes, but he did better there because they had a male nurse. These are extreme measures and I always advise to try homecare if possible, if you have the money, if it is a financial possibility to keep them at home, if you can convert a room, because they demand so little, really. Of course, that’s not true of some personalities, if dementia is involved, because there are all these levels of illnesses.

GB:  Caregivers seem to buzz about you days after you have spoken at an event. What do they say to you with regards to their personal stories?

DR:  The families ask me what to do, especially about Alzheimer’s disease because that’s what my father had, along with the incontinence.  Poor Daddy, he really got it all at the end. It was a difficult case to nurse him, because he didn’t want to be nursed. He was part Cherokee and he just wanted to be taken out to the desert. That’s what he kept telling me.  “Look,” he would say, “just take me out to the desert, put a blanket over me, and life will just go.” That’s an impossibility to do, but he thought that was the ideal way to go; you know, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

GB:  I’m honored to spend some time with you. I think you’re helping a whole lot of families out there as you go around sharing your message with them.

DR:  Well, we try, and sometimes you don’t get through to people. Not every talk show wants to discuss this. It’s sad to me that they don’t want to recognize this; they want me to just come on and talk about “Singing in the Rain” and all the fun things in my life, which I do; but I try to work this in, in my own sneaky way.


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