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The HollyRod Interview (Page 3 of 3)

An Interview with Rodney and Holly Robinson Peete


Holly Robinson Peete:  Yes, they do not.  Only our oldest kids got a real chance to be with my father and to know him a little bit, but he was pretty steeped into the dementia phase of Parkinson's by the time they were born.  They would ask about why Granddad never smiles, and I had to explain to them Granddad is smiling on the inside a lot, but he has this mask that comes with Parkinson's disease that makes it look like he has no expression.  It scared the kids sometimes, so we really had to stay on them to know that Granddad is smiling on the inside.  Just because he is not smiling does not mean that you cannot smile at him.

Gary Barg:  What would be the one most important piece of advice you would like to leave a family caregiver with?

Holly Robinson Peete: A family caregiver experiences a certain level of guilt, a certain level of selflessness, and I would just say you have to take care of yourself.  You cannot feel bad about giving yourself some  time.  You have got to have some time to nurture your own soul, because if you do not, you cannot be the best caregiver.  Not taking care of yourself is the worst thing that you can do.  So in some way, some form you have to give yourself a break and nurture yourself so that you can nurture your loved one as well.

Rodney Peete:  That is it, because you get so consumed.  I know that because not only have we been going through it, but I look at my parents who have done that for my grandmother and my grandfather and some other people in our lives. They spend all their time looking after some of the older generation and do not really take time for themselves, which makes them worn out.  So you have to take time for yourself, and really take care of yourself health-wise, and give yourself some time and give yourself a break.  I think the other thing I would say is no matter if you never hear it or you do not see it or you do not think it is there, you are appreciated and the people that you are caring for really appreciate you.  I do not think that you should ever underestimate that or think that it is not true; because even if they do not say it, like I said, you are appreciated.


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