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 An Interview with Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich (Page 2 of 2)

An Interview with Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich

Gary: You know what? You bring up the three most important things about caregiving.  They are support, partnership, and honesty.

Olympia: Honesty! Yeah. The hard thing for me with my mother was just being honest.  I could not believe that this was happening to my mother.  I mean, my mother was so strong and so independent and fierce.  Fierce. And the idea that she did not have control, it was like unbelievable to me. We should be talking about Louis’ diabetes, not my mother. 

Gary: It is all part of it.  It is all caring.  It is all paying attention.  What happened with your mother was an internal lesson for you. 

Olympia: Exactly.  And it is also a lesson for me with Louis and my children.  I do not wait now.  If I see something, bang, I am on it. I talk about it.  I am persistent.  For example, with all this with Louis, I made it my business to let my kids know was happening, to let them know that diabetes is in their family.  And not just second stage diabetes; there was first stage diabetes. I do not know whether it was the thing with my mother or whatever, but I now feel I want to know what is ahead; I want to see what is down the road. I do not want to put my head in the sand like an ostrich ever again.  What happened with my mother is that, finally, things got so bad. I was in Greece doing a movie when my brother called me and said that we would have to put her in a nursing home. And then he said, “Olympia, she has got to be custodial.” He was the one that yelled at me.  My son got on and said, “Mom, I cannot live this way.  You do not know what it is like.” And he told me about her running into the streets and everything else. I just keep reviewing all the mistakes I made. I am not making those mistakes again.

Gary: That is what we call education. 

Olympia:  Caregiving is no easy thing. I mean, it is a simple little phrase, but it requires being educated; it requires being diligent. It requires wanting to know the truth. That is what it requires.

Gary: What is the one most important piece of advice that you would like to share with the family caregiver?

Olympia: I would say to look at something and see it, to not deny what is in front of you, to have the willingness to really look at reality. I think that is really important, because that is where everything begins.

 

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