Dan Gasby sits down with me to discuss spousal caregiving in an exclusive interview:
Originally published: 2/2019
For those of you who don’t know the story of B. Smith & Dan Gasby, here is a quick look
back. Dan Gasby is caring for his wife who is living with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease; B.
Smith is currently in the late stages of the disease process. There is also a 3rd party
helping to care for B, as well; her name is Alex and she’s Dan’s girlfriend. Alex "allegedly"
lives in the home with B. Smith and Dan and helps to take of care of B 24/7. Interesting
Now, here is the question "Is Dan Gasby wrong for having a girlfriend while his wife is
battling Alzheimer’s disease?"
The answer...it’s not that simple. It’s not a one or two sentence response. First, one must
understand the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s. The disease destroys a person’s brain
cells, ultimately resulting in death. Persons living with Alzheimer’s may revert back to
previous life’s patterns (similar to that of a toddler) over time because they experience
difficulty remembering, processing information, formulating thoughts, communicating,
completing tasks, and executing plans. Therefore, the caregiving for such an illness is
very taxing. It takes patience, understanding, skills, time, and sacrifice to be a successful
Being a spousal Alzheimer's caregiver can be a very lonely and isolating role, especially
when the spouse’s mental capacity is diminishing. Of course, B. Smith is available
physically and has moments of lucidity, but how many of you know that there is more to a
loving relationship than just the physical? This is where the challenge comes in for B.
Smith and Dan Gasby and many other couples exactly like them. The fabulous B. Smith
that Dan Gasby married is disappearing right in front of his eyes due to her diminished
mental capacity. In Dan's world, he is losing the woman he married. So, in essence, he is
going to go through at least 2 grieving processes; once as B loses her cognitive abilities
and again when she dies.
We often talk about self-care when it comes to family caregivers since their health also
takes a toll during the caregiving process. If caregivers take care of themselves then they
are better equipped to care for their loved ones. If Dan is not healthy (physical, mental,
and emotional) then he can’t take of B, increasing the risk of out-of-home placement.
Now, I know some of you are saying that he can hire around the clock care for her in the
home; but that’s only addressing a component of Dan’s well-being. Sure, his mental will
be at ease because he knows that his wife is being taken care of, but what about his
physical and emotional needs?
Now let’s look at the most important person in this whole entire scenario, B. Smith. B
Smith was a world-renowned restaurateur, model, and tv host who absolutely loved
people. Her illness has robbed her of her memory and her abilities, but not her soul. She
still can feel love; and that’s what it is all about. Coming from a person-centered
perspective, the love that B receives is of the utmost importance. And from what I am
seeing, based on over 19 years of personal and professional experience, B. Smith is loved.
She may not even recognize her relationship to Dan or Alex, but that's okay because she
will always be able to feel someone’s intent towards her, and that seems to be all love.
You may not like how their life is being played out in the public eye, but it’s just that...their
life. If you’ve ever cared for a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease, then I think you can
understand what’s going on here. Should Dan parade his girlfriend around in the public in
such a way while his wife is battling Alzheimer’s disease? Well now, that’s a whole other