"Life is a gift -- even with Alzheimer's," shares Bennett in an inteview.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's. An estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's dementia in 2020.
Alzheimer's disease is a type of brain disease, just as coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease. It is also a degenerative disease, meaning that it becomes worse with time. Alzheimer's disease is thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms arise.
On February 1, 2021, legendary crooner, Tony Bennett along with his family, opened up about how he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Bennett took part in a feature report by AARP magazine, and it disclosed that he was diagnosed in 2016.
Life is a gift - even with Alzheimer’s. Thank you to Susan and my family for their support, and @AARP The Magazine for telling my story.— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) February 1, 2021
Read more here:https://t.co/R05A4jc5BF⁰
📸 Kelsey Bennett pic.twitter.com/ApxBCpGv0y
Bennett has so far been spared from some of the worst symptoms, including disorientation which can lead those with the disease to wander from home. However, there was little doubt that the disease has progressed. In the interview, the journalist spoke of a moment when Bennett asked what the weather outside was like, despite having only just returned from walking the dog outdoors. Many of those who suffer from the disease end up losing their ability to speak, understand and recognize their loved ones. Thankfully, thus far, Bennett has not yet reached this stage.
His wife, Susan Benedetto, said that they made the difficult decision to go public about his diagnosis without Bennett's input, as he is "incapable of understanding the disease," AARP said. Benedetto, who has become his primary caregiver, also disclosed that he is "not always sure where he is or what is happening around him" and that "mundane objects as familiar as a fork or a set of house keys can be utterly mysterious to him. I have my moments and it gets very difficult," she said. "He would ask me, 'What is Alzheimer's?' I would explain, but he wouldn't get it."
"He'd tell me, 'Susan, I feel fine.' That's all he could process, that physically he felt great," Benedetto said. "So, nothing changed in his life. Anything that did change, he wasn't aware of."
Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga in the recording studio in 2019. pic.twitter.com/jdRC2sU2NT— Gaga Media 〄 (@GagaMediaDotNet) February 1, 2021
Despite his battle with Alzheimer's, Tony Bennett continued to record new music and plans to release a new collaborative album with Lady Gaga this spring.
Gayatri Devi, his neurologist is also quoted in the article. She said that keeping up with his music has been incredibly beneficial for the Grammy Award winner. "He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do. He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder."
My good friend Tony Bennett is a prince. I’m so proud of him and his wonderful wife Susan for coming forward and discussing his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. We love you Tony. We do. Just the way you look tonight, tomorrow and always. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/i1a2hiAi1n— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) February 1, 2021
It’s a gift to the world when a person like Tony Bennett and his family talk about living with Alzheimer’s. Read the article in full here.