Taking Care

WSVN — This is how Deya remembers her mom, laughing and full of life, but five years ago she noticed a change.Deya Aponte: "She was getting very lonely and I was noticing she wasn't making meals for herself."Her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Deya and her family brought her into their home, but as her mother's condition got worse, Deya's frustrations grew.Deya Aponte: "Your stress level gets high, you lose patience."After a very bad week she was at wit's end.Deya Aponte: "My mom was to the point where she would not eat."That's when she found Leeza's place at Memorial Hospital Pembroke. A place for caregivers to come for support.Bonnie Bonomo: "It's a very non-threatening safe environment, where you can come, share your story, meet other people who are going through the same thing."Leeza's place was started by TV personality Leeza Gibbons after her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She realized the need for a place where caregivers can get help."Bonnie Bonomo: Almost 30 percent of our population today are caregivers."And those numbers are rising as many find themselves part of the sandwich generation, taking care of both their parents and children.Bonnie Bonomo: "They are our most stressed out caregiving population because most of them by day are working and then by night they're working."Deya works full time then comes home to take care of her mom and son. At Leeza's Place, she could express what she was going through.Deya Aponte: "So I came here and I was like oh my gosh I can breathe again."Families are encouraged to come and take part in activities like scrapbooking to help jog their loved one's memory.Bonnie Bonomo: "When you are still in the early stage you can look at those photos and remember those great times."Deya says it's difficult watching her mom slowly slip away but having leeza's place on her side has really helped her on this journey.Deya Aponte: "It's like my safe haven, let's put it that way."Leeza's Place also offers weekly support groups as well as Yoga and Tai Chi classes to help relieve stress.FOR MORE INFORMATION:Leeza's Place:Visit http://www.leezasplace.orgorTel: (954) 883-7240