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Can caring for an ailing loved one kill you? "Yes," say health professionals. When Baby Boomers care for aging parents, frequently the last person they're thinking about is themselves. This can be deadly. Life (Part 2) begins with a clip from The Forgetting, the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary on Alzheimer's disease. Here we get an up-close look at Harry Fuget, sole caregiver for his wife Gladys. As host Robert Lipsyte explains, there's a tragic lesson to this family's story.
Lipsyte then turns to his panelists for a tour of the realities and dangers of caregiving. Dr. Esther M. Sternberg, director of the Integrative Neural Immune Program at the N.I.H. and author of The Balance Within: The Science of Connecting Health and Emotions, tells how research has proven that chronic stress compromises our health and memory. Gail Sheehy, author of the 70s bestseller Passages, speaks candidly of the difficulties of caring for her late husband, the legendary magazine editor Clay Felker. "Caregiving starts as a sprint and turns into a marathon," says Sheehy. Author Tommy Hays, director of the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, talks about caring for a parent with Alzheimer's, the experience which inspired his touching novel, The Pleasure Was Mine.
Lipsyte next sits down with the fearless and funny Joy Behar, co-host of The View on ABC. Why does Joy feel that older comics are better comics? Behar speaks frankly on late-life fame, plastic surgery-and why her mother "died a blonde."
Finally, Alix Kates Shulman, author of the bestseller Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, offers her thoughts about caring for her high-school sweetheart husband following a freak disabling accident. The experience has inspired her recent memoir, To Love What Is.