Zsa Zsa Gabour's husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, her husband of 25 years, is selling their home. If you have a spare $15 million it could be yours. He is also selling her clothes, jewels and antiques. He cites the impracticality of such a large, unsafe house and her increasing medical bills as the reason for the sales. Zsa Zsa, 94 years old, is increasingly frail. She is barely able to speak and is now bed-ridden having had her leg amputated earlier this year and pneumonia in May. It is sad to think of such a vital, charismatic woman having to cope with so much ill health.
Zsa Zsa's only child, Francesca Hilton, has expressed concern about her mother's care. Her step father recently released a picture of her mother, a glass of champagne in hand, ‘celebrating' his 68th birthday. She is shown sitting in bed with no make up on and her hair less than perfect. Relations between Mr von Anhalt and Francesca have, apparently, been strained for a number of years.
It is difficult not to have sympathy for both parties. She says her mother would never have allowed such a picture of herself to be released. She also expresses her concern about her being allowed her to drink alcohol so soon after a major illness.
He says she was happy to have her picture taken and I suppose you can see both points of view. Why should she not be shown as she is now? We all change, we all age and for famous people there is an expectation that their shared celebrity and living their lives in the glare of the camera should not change just because they look less beautiful and no longer youthful. But, if she has dementia as is widely reported, then what should happen? Society is good at stigmatizing certain illneses and isolating elders with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. It could be argued that by allowing her to remain visible she represents a more inclusive healthy societal attitude.
Frédéric is reported as saying; "She is not heavily medicated. She takes two pills, one for her blood pressure and another pill which keeps her from retaining water in her leg and lungs. She is communicative, and capable of smiling and showing distaste. Her doctor says it's fine for her to have an occasional sip of alcohol now and again." Alcohol can, as we all know cause problems in elders whose livers receive a less efficient blood supply and whose enzymes are less able to cope. It can increase confusion and falls but we are talking about a bit more than ‘sips'.
Family breakdown, stress of caring for chronically sick people, the unique problems of inheritance of the wealthy and the highly visible lives of movie stars mean we all have an opinion even though we do not know all the details. I think as caregivers, with an equally unique point of view, we should keep an open mind.