Alzheimer’s Association hopes Tony Bennett’s diagnosis brings more awareness to incurable disease

Alzheimer’s Association hopes Tony Bennett’s diagnosis brings more awareness to incurable disease

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The family of legendary singer Tony Bennett revealed his Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis earlier this week in AARP The Magazine.

The 94-year-old Grammy winner joined the more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including 180,000 people in North Carolina.

Peggy Best, director of programs and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern North Carolina Chapter said the organization appreciates his family coming forward.

“It raises awareness and reduces the stigma so that people can have an opportunity to start care planning,” Best said.

Bennett’s diagnosis comes at a time when the Alzheimer’s Association will hold a series called “Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis.”

The virtual three-part series aims to answer questions of those in the early stages of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

The programs are scheduled for the next three Tuesdays (Feb. 10, 17 and 24) from noon to 1:15 p.m. Part one is “What does this diagnosis mean?” Part two covers care planning, care teams, care management, a legal and financial overview, and an exploration of family and friends, relationships, and self-care. The final session is called “Live Well.” This session will include Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisors sharing their experiences.

“I think the key take away to this is they feel like there’s help and we believe there is hope,” said Best.

Best said early detection is important for families and patients.

“I’ve been personally touched by Alzheimer’s in my family and I see families who are struggling to find answers and seeking help when they feel like there’s no hope and struggling to find an answer for an in curable disease,” she said. “We don’t have anything to cure it, prevent or slow the progression right now so it’s important for us to start advocating for early detection, which is so important.”

Best said when detected early, the patient can be more involved in caregiving decisions.

“It’s a gift that you can give your family to let them know what you want your care to look like as you move forward,” she said.

To take part in the series or to learn more, visit alz.org/nc.

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.