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The Maria Shriver Interview / (Page 3 of 3)

Helping Kids Cope:
An Interview with Maria Shriver

GB: So by sharing your experience, you can help other people who are going through a similar thing.

MS: As in anything, you get strength from other people who have been through it. You learn from other people. You're constantly learning because no two days are ever alike; and the disease is constantly changing, so you have to be flexible, to really live in the moment and roll with it. I have great respect for people who are caregivers and who either do that in an assisted living home, or who do it in their own home. I think that it is emotionally tough, tough work, so I have great respect; and this is why I wanted to do this interview with your magazine. I think caregivers are like teachers. They're in there all the time working, and are required to have creativity, patience, emotional strength, physical strength. They have my utmost respect.

GB: One of the first things I find caregivers doing is kind of beating themselves up over the things they can't do, what they can't fix. I just look at them and say, "You have more on your plate and you handle more on a daily basis than any major CEO of any company I've ever met."

MS: Right. I think it's important to continue lauding people in that profession. Keep trying to understand the person who has Alzheimer's and to keep growing with it. There are always great lessons in all of this, so you keep trying to learn, and you keep trying to evolve, even if you're not the primary caregiver.

GB: What are some suggestions you have for caregivers?

MS: A lot of this is just life's lessons. You have to try and take care of yourself, especially if you have to take care of someone else. People who are caregivers, who are on the frontlines, are the experts. They need to remember that they may not necessarily have to speak to someone else if what they are doing is working well for them.


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