Calling All Alzheimer’s Caregivers: Share Your Story

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I invite you to tune in tonight (2/18) for an Alzheimer’s special titled, Glen Campbell Fights Alzheimer’s.

Hosted by Shepard Smith, the hourlong special airs at 10pm EST / 7pm PST on Fox News. It will also re-air next Sunday, February 26 at 9pm EST / 6pm PST.

The piece will focus on the public figures who, through their living example and advocacy work, have raised much needed awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease.

As I was preparing for the interview, it dawned on me: this will be my first appearance on Fox News. I am thrilled that Fox News is taking on Alzheimer’s and I was honored that they asked me to participate. If we are going to defeat this devastating disease, we all need to come together, move beyond political definitions, discuss it openly, and navigate a new path to end it.

In the interview, I spoke about how this “mind-blowing” disease impacts families, what I’ve attempted to accomplish with my own advocacy work, and how important it is for caregivers to have a supportive community with which to share their stories and find practical information and resources.

Since MariaShriver.com launched just over a year ago, we have featured many powerful caregiver stories. We’ve all been touched by the journeys of two wives — Karen Henley and Angie Clarkson — who are dealing with the enormous challenges of Young Onset Alzheimer’s.

We’ve been inspired by the experiences of a self-described ‘sandwich mom’ who is raising her young daughter as well as caring for her ailing mother. We’ve been empowered by the ongoing wisdom and guidance of an Alzheimer’s caregiving couple, Ellen and Daniel Potts, and were inspired by Leeza Gibbon’s moving love letter to caregivers.

We’ve published articles on Alzheimer’s caregiving strategies and an ongoing series on Senior Care. We’ve showcased a lovely poem written to help explain Alzheimer’s to children, and featured essays on the power of love and the heart-wrenching pain of watching a loved one disappear before our eyes.

I hope these stories have moved you, given you comfort in times of need, and made you realize that you are not alone. Each of these writers stepped out of their comfort zones and moved beyond their personal pain to pass on their experiences and wisdom and life lessons to others.

For this reason, I believe it is an act of great courage to share one’s story with the world. So, in that same spirit, I invite any Alzheimer’s caregiver who may be reading this to share your story with this community.

In the comments section below, tell us about the challenges you’ve faced as an Alzheimer’s caregiver and how you’ve managed to overcome some of them. How has Alzheimer’s disease impacted your life and your family? Who in your life has stepped up to help you? What websites or organizations have you turned to for guidance? How have you found the strength to keep going?

We are always on the lookout for new perspectives and voices on this issue and regular contributors to write about their caregiving experience.

About the Author

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Maria Shriver is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. Since 2009, Shriver has produced a groundbreaking series of Shriver Reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in the American culture and society affecting women today. Shriver was California’s First Lady from 2003 to 2010 and, during that time, she spearheaded what became the nation's premier forum for women, The Women's Conference. Shriver's work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change -- people who see a problem in their own life or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution. Like her page on Facebook or follow her on Instagram.

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