In 2011, Dr. Ruth Westheimer came to NewBridge on the Charles for Hebrew SeniorLife’s College of Retirement Living. During her visit, she met with Hebrew SeniorLife Dementia Research, Medical and Care Team and interviewed them for the book she was then writing “Dr. Ruth’s Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver: How to Care for Your Loved One without Getting Overwhelmed…and Without Doing it All Yourself.” Dr. Ruth recognized the HSL team with a special thank you in the Acknowledgements section of the book.
Two of those professionals who contributed to Dr. Ruth’s book were Tara Fleming- Caruso, psychotherapist and Marketing Manager for the Assisted Living Community at NewBridge, and Dr. Ruth Kandel, MD, Geriatrician for Hebrew SeniorLife. What follows is an interview between Tara, Dr. Kandel and Dr. Ruth regarding Dr. Ruth’s book and what Tara and Dr. Kandel believe to be some of the most pertinent information contained therein.
The interview questions and answers will comprise a series of posts on our blog over the next two weeks.
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Dr. Ruth Kandel: Depression? Anxiety? Guilt? Burn out? What are some of the most common feelings you have heard caregivers express when they talk about dementia?
Dr. Ruth: I've heard them all, but here's the important point: it doesn't matter what others are experiencing. My least favorite word is normal. People are always asking me if this or that is normal. Who cares? If you're in a caregivers group and you're the only one gripped with a certain emotion, don't let that make you feel strange. They're your emotions and they stem from your unique background and mental makeup. So the important thing is to pay attention to your own feelings and deal with them. Don't worry about whether you are feeling the same things others may be.