Care for Caregivers
Caring for aging or ill adults can be rewarding, but it can also put caregivers at increased risk of stress, depression, and poor attention to their own health. TV personality and healthcare advocate Leeza Gibbons created Leeza’s Care Connection as a community gathering place and resource center for caregivers where both the care provider and the care receiver get the best possible care. After her mother, Jean Gibbons, died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, and after her family’s own caregiving challenges, Leeza made a promise to her mom to “tell her story and make it count”. This promise was realized with Leeza’s Care Connection.
In the US, there are over 65 million family members currently caring for a loved one going through a health crisis. Those numbers are expected to increase dramatically over the next few decades with longer lifespans, a large elderly population, and the growing prevalence of conditions like Alzheimer’s. Leeza’s Care Connection is the answer to “Now What?” when you get the news that someone you love has cancer, MS, a brain tumor, stroke, Alzheimer’s or any other chronic disease. They help families get ready to move forward in their “new normal”. They offer a calendar of activities each month with programs, workshops and educational lectures, and their online resource library and support blog also provide virtual support for caregivers. All programs and services are free of charge. The organization’s support groups provide a gathering place for caregivers to share common experiences, learn coping strategies, share resources and solutions to problems, and form new friendships and discover a sense of community. Being a caregiver of aging adults or ill loved ones is a huge responsibility and the groups help to relieve the caregiver of role strain while in a nurturing environment. Caregivers are often depressed, stressed and depleted which can lead to burnout…often causing stress related disorders that can take up to ten years off the life of the caregiver. We are here to remind those caregivers that they must take care of themselves.
The first of the center’s “10 Commandments of Caregiving” is “Take Your Oxygen First”, meaning one must take care of one’s own mind, body and soul first, before they are able to help others. The Leeza’s Care Connection is housed in the Michael J. and Mary Meech Mungo home in Irmo, which is also in the neighborhood that Leeza and her family lived. “It’s so meaningful to offer our free services to the friends and neighbors I grew up with,” said Leeza. Several programs are available at the location, such as the Care Café, Serenity Lounge, Warriors of Wellness program, Creative Expression, and a “Memories Matter” video journaling program. Caregivers, professionals, neighbors and friends are encouraged to stop by for a tour.
Leeza’s Care Connection
at the Michael J. and Mary Meech Mungo Home
201 St. Andrews Road
Columbia, SC 29210
Hours of operation 9am – 5pm Monday- Friday
Additional evening programs on monthly calendar