David Cassidy Reveals He is Suffering from Dementia
Just a week after announcing his battle with dementia, Cassidy performed in what is expected to be his last-ever tour. On March 4th, 2017 he played Manahttan's B.B. King Blues Club & Grill performing all the hits of his 40+ year career. Reports indicated he was also fighting laryngitis and arthritis which impacted his performance but the crowd was supportive. He told the crowd that his arthritis makes it increasingly tricky to play guitar.
Singer and actor David Cassidy, best known for his role as Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge, in the 1970s musical-sitcom The Partridge Family, has announced he is suffering from dementia. The 66-year-old star told People Magazine that he is fighting the memory loss disease. Cassidy's representative, Jo-Ann Geffen, confirmed to USA TODAY that has been diagnosed with dementia. This comes off a recent performance where Cassidy seemed intoxicated at the concert outside L.A., falling off the stage, forgetting words and unsteady on his feet. Sources have told TMZ that he was not drinking prior to the show. Cassidy has a family history of memory issues as his mom and grandfather struggled with the disease.
“I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming,” he told People. The former teen idol of the 1970s said he decided to stop touring as a musician to concentrate on his health and happiness. “I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I’ve been without any distractions,” he says. “I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”Cassidy posted on his website:
I will always be eternally grateful for the love and support you’ve shown me. I still love very much to play and perform live. But it’s much more difficult for me now.
I’m not going to vanish or disappear forever. I’ll be able to communicate much more through my website and my Facebook page. As you can imagine this has been truthfully THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION I HAVE EVER MADE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I’m eternally grateful to each and every single one of you. I’m going to play live, everywhere around North America, through 2017. I hope you will find a way to come and be part of my celebration!
Cassidy watched his grandfather battle memory loss and saw his mother “disappear” into dementia until she died at age 89. He tells PEOPLE of his diagnosis: “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming.”
Cassidy remembers his mom’s battle with memory loss, “In the end, the only way I knew she recognized me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room. … I feared I would end up that way.”
He has had numerous personal problems in the decades following his initial success, ranging from substance abuse to bankruptcy. He’s the stepson of actress and fellow “Partridge Family” star Shirley Jones.
There are four common types of dementia: Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). How important genes are in these different dementias varies considerably. For example, the role of genes in FTD seems to be much greater than in vascular dementia.
According to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) approximately 40% of individuals with FTD do have a family history that includes at least one other relative who also has or had a neurodegenerative disease. In approximately 15-40% of all FTD cases, a genetic cause (e.g., a gene mutation) can be identified as the likely cause of the disease and in most cases it is an inherited mutation.
So does your dementia risk increase if a parent or sibling has been diagnosed? Yes, it does — but that doesn’t mean that heritability (inherited risk) is the biggest risk factor for dementia.
“The biggest risk factor is age,” says Raj C. Shah, MD, medical director of the Rush Memory Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Over 65, between 2 and 4 percent of people are at risk, and that becomes 4 to 8 percent risk for those who have a relative with dementia.” Most dementia cases are “sporadic,” which means they occur without any family history, says Dr. Shah.
Other forms of memory loss can be contributed to family history as well. Close family members of people with Alzheimer's disease are more than twice as likely as those without a family history to develop silent buildup of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
People with dementia or other forms of memory loss have various progressions of the disease. At some point they will require supervision and help with normal activities of living and end up with care in their own home or in a memory wing of an assisted living facility or nursing home. This can create a financial disaster for a family since this type of care, like a majority of long-term care, is not paid for my health insurance, Medicare or Medicare Supplements.
“It is very sad to hear about David. When you hear about a celebrity having this type of issue it hits home just like a family member,” said Matt McCann a nationally known speaker and expert in Long Term Care Planning.
“I had the opportunity to have lunch with him years ago and speak with him on the phone a number of times. He really is a great guy and after all the other issues he has dealt with this is one that will have a lasting impact on him and his family and friends,” McCann said. McCann at one time was a radio personality and radio station manager prior to becoming a specialist and advocate for long-term care planning.
Alzheimer’s care expert David Troxel says Long Term Care insurance is a way to plan ahead before a problem exists.
“Long-Term Care insurance is highly recommended for everyone concerned about the cost of long-term care. Many Baby Boomers are buying policies for the future, but the policies are also available for older individuals. Unfortunately, when symptoms of dementia start it is too late to buy a policy,” he said.
A report showed that in 2014 80.2% of all purchasers of Long Term Care Insurance were age 45 to 65. 11.8% were under age 45.
"Buyers are younger, they begin with lower amounts of initial coverage and they select options that reduce their cost significantly," said Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) a national consumer education and advocacy group.
Cassidy’s long career started in 1969 when he appeared on such shows as Ironside, Marcus Welby, MD, Adam-12 and Bonanza. It was in 1970 when he became a star when he took the part of Keith Partridge, son of Shirley Partridge, who was played by Cassidy's real stepmother and series' lead, Shirley Jones. The producers didn’t care if he could sing or not … but he could sign and released a number of albums. His hits included “Cherish”, “How Can I Be Sure” and “I Think I Love You”
For now Cassidy will play the role so many American’s face, ready or not, as a person who suffers from memory loss. He must now deal with this latest crisis as best he can. The rest of us, according to experts, should plan before they retire. Part of that plan, for many, is long-term care insurance.