Kathryn Leigh Scott (kathrynleighscott.com) has recently published three books about caregiving —
– “The Happy Hours”
– “A Welcome Respite”
– “Now With You, Now Without”
In January 2018, I shared Denise’s short review of “A Welcome Respite.”
In 2016, Kathryn Leigh Scott (KLS) published the beautiful book “Last Dance at the Savoy,” about caring for the love of your life through the very end. KLS mentions Brain Support Network for help with brain donation in this book. Denise’s short review of that book is posted to our blog, www.brainsupportnetwork.org/blog.
After listening to a February 2018 interview* of Kathryn Leigh Scott, I think “The Happy Hours” might be of interest to some of you. I haven’t read it yet but, in the interview, Kathryn shares the core idea of the book. In her husband Geoff’s final years — after he was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) — she was determined to make the most of his remaining time. And she was determined that neither Geoff nor she, as the caregiver, would be isolated.
KLS and Geoff instituted “happy hour” at their home. The happy hour took place in the master bedroom. She removed all signs of medical equipment or disability. She added a bistro table and chairs. There was an open door policy. Anyone could come. Geoff wore an amplification device so that his voice could be heard. Apparently these gatherings were very important to her husband as they helped him be remembered by others.
In the interview, she mentions a few other things worth sharing here. First, she says that the key is to have patience. She tried to remember that “Geoff can’t help it.”
Second, she found the role reversal of caregiving very difficult.
Third, she addressed the importance to her husband Geoff of his engaging in research. He participated in trials. And he donated his brain for research. They both participated in an environmental study of PSP.
Fourth, she recommends hospice at home. She doesn’t call hospice “end of life care” but rather “quality of life care.”
A few things were said about PSP in the interview. I’ve put some notes about that below for the PSP folks on this email list.
The caregiver-related part of the interview is basically from minute 6 to minute 22.
From minute 6 to minute 10:27, Kathryn Leigh Scott offers some general information on PSP. She describes PSP as being part of a family of five progressive movement disorders. The five are PSP, corticobasal degeneration, multiple system atrophy, Lewy body dementia, and ALS. The host of the interview incorrectly refers to these as auto-immune disorders. KLS said that 20K people a year are diagnosed with PSP in the US. PSP research is informing Alzheimer’s research.