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The Maria Shriver Interview / (Page 2 of 3)

Helping Kids Cope:
An Interview with Maria Shriver

GB: I think that's a great motto, and that all caregivers need to take a look at what they do on a daily basis because it does have such grace to it.

MS: You try and do the best you can and move on. So that's what I do. I've written this book and it's my way of helping people in this situation; helping myself, helping my family, and I hope helping millions of other people. I'm just trying to work the best way I can.

GB: What kind of response have you gotten to the publication of What's Happening to Grandpa?

It's been on the New York Times Bestseller's List, which was a goal of mine, so I'm very happy about that. I get extraordinary responses. I had a man come up to me today, not but an hour ago. He told me that he had put his mother into assisted living and that she has Alzheimer's. He started to cry and said that this book meant everything to him and he's in his 50s. So I'm getting reactions from kids, from parents and from spouses. It has been truly wonderful and I think it's one of those books that will be there for many other families that will have to deal with this issue.

GB: So the book became therapy for you, too?

MS: Yeah, absolutely, and I hope that it will be a friend to and helpful for millions of other people.

GB: One thing I like in particular is that it is very accessible, allowing a new caregiver to explain to a child what is going on with the disease.

MS: Yes, I hope that it is, because you must explain to your children and to your children's children. This is my public service for Alzheimer's—to try and spare some people from, "Oh my gosh, how do I explain this?" Now there's a book.

GB: How should someone navigate their way as a caregiver of someone living with Alzheimer’s disease?

MS: I think that everyone manages it in different ways and every family deals with it in different ways. It's important that every family know that they are doing the best they can, that what's right for them is right for them, and not to judge, "Well this person was able to stay at home and care for their loved one, and I'm unable to do this, so I must be bad." I think we need to be very conscience of not doing that to people, and that we all figure out that everyone develops their caregiving situation the best way that they can for their family.

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