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The Rosalynn Carter Interview (Page 4 of 4)

An Interview with Rosalynn Carter

GB:  Since weíre doing this next conference in Atlanta, weíve been working with the Area Agency on Aging, and they wanted me to tell you how much they love CareNet.

RC:  Oh good. Itís been really wonderful. As much work as I have done with older
people, there is still a lot to learn.

GB:  Do you have any advice for family caregivers to think about?

RC:  The best advice I think I can give them is to leave some time for themselves. They have to have some escape from the caregiving duties. Take some time, even if you canít get away totally. I know one woman whose mother was sick, and her mother couldnít get out, so she had to be taken care of all the time. Her mother wanted to see what their flowers looked like in the garden, so the woman began photographing the roses, other flowers and the trees so her mother could see the change-of-seasons. She got so good, that now she has, from her home, a photography business. Even if itís just gardening, or walking around the house, or reading a good book, people need something to take their mind off of their duty.

A lot of people donít like to say that they have a duty or a burden when it comes to caregiving because there are rewards. I think that everybody feels some reward. There was a woman that we saw in our survey who said that she got so upset with her father at times, that she felt like running away. She said that one day she did run away.  She left him in his wheelchair and checked into a hotel downtown.  She stayed for only a few hours because she felt so guilty. When she returned home, he was still in his wheelchair just where she had left him. People just need some outlet. One thingthat people can do is the Internet, with all the chat clubs.  Look up the Rosalynn Carter Institute and see what weíre doing, and send us messages for advice. People also need to know that there is help in the community, and the Rosalynn Carter Institute can help caregivers locate organizations and support groups. There is information available and caregivers can call up the Rosalynn Carter Institute to get what they need.