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The Dr. Ruth Interview  (Page 1 of 4)

An Interview with Dr. Ruth

Dr. Ruth InterviewDr. Ruth Westheimer is world renowned for her work as a sex therapist, media personality and author. Best known as Dr. Ruth, The New York Times described her as a ďSorbonne-trained psychologist who became a kind of cultural icon in the 1980s. She ushered in the new age of freer, franker talk about sex on radio and television.Ē Who better to talk about the needs of the Alzheimerís caregiver than Dr. Ruth in her trademark forthright and honest manner? Dr. Ruth sat down with Editor-in-Chief Gary Barg for a frank discussion about some of their issues. The wisdom shared by Dr. Ruth can be applied to all family caregivers everywhere. As she says, ďA lesson taught with humor is a lesson retained.Ē

Gary Barg: Iím very happy that we get a chance to talk about your book, Dr. Ruthís Guide for Alzheimerís Caregivers. I knew I was going to like it when I started reading and the first chapter is titled, ďHow to Help Yourself.Ē Why do you think thatís specifically important for Alzheimerís caregivers?

Dr. Ruth: Iíll tell you why Ė because itís not like when somebody has an operation. Thereís a hospital stay, then thereís recovery, and then people can go on with their life. Thatís not the case here because this is such a horrible disease. And itís such a hopeless disease. So I decided I know how to do training of professionals from my years at Planned Parenthood and I said thatís what I have to use right now. Just to tell people that they must Ė without feeling bad and without feeling guilty Ė they must do something for themselves.

Gary Barg: Thereís a lovely segment in the book. You talk about scheduling happiness. How do we do that?

Dr. Ruth: We decide that there is a moment that we have to be selfish. You have an obligation to go out. You have an obligation to meet some friends, to go to a movie, to do something. You have to make arrangements to get some help and to go to the opera or to go to a concert. And then not to sit there guiltily, but to sit there and say, ďThis is for my survival. I can give better care when I have done something for myself.Ē Thatís really what Iím talking aboutóthe scheduling of happiness. When you donít feel that you did something that took away from the care and then you come back, you are renewed.

Gary Barg: If you donít care for yourself, how can you possibly care for the person who needs your help?

Dr. Ruth: Exactly.

Gary Barg: I know itís something you donít normally talk about, but letís talk about sex.


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