Tony Bennett (Image source: Instagram)
Tony Bennett (Image source: Instagram)

Tony Bennett practices performing even amid Alzheimer's battle

ANI | Updated: Feb 02, 2021 14:23 IST

Washington [US], February 2 (ANI): American singer Tony Bennett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease but that has not stopped him from pursuing his undying passion for music.
As per People magazine, in a new profile for AARP The Magazine, Bennett's neurologist, Gayatri Devi, said that his patient has successfully pursued his decades-long music career, going on tour as recently as 2019, after being diagnosed with the disease in 2016.
The publication also revealed that the legendary singer even has concert dates scheduled for later this year, with the first in March.
"It kept him on his toes and also stimulated his brain in a significant way," Devi said of Bennett's performances, later adding, "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."
However, Devi admitted that while the disease could not stop him from performing, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic took a toll on Bennett, as he was no longer able to perform.

"This has been a real blow from a cognitive perspective. His memory, prior to the pandemic, was so much better," the doctor said.

Devi further said, "And he's not alone. So many of my patients are negatively affected by the isolation, the inability to do the things that matter to them. For someone like Tony Bennett, the big high he gets from performing was very important."
With that in mind, Devi recommended to Bennett's family that the veteran singer continue to rehearse twice a week. Each time, the singer's longtime pianist, Lee Musiker, comes over and runs through a 90-minute set with him.

"Singing is everything to him. Everything. It has saved his life many times," said Bennett's wife, Susan Benedetto.
According to AARP's profile, Bennett is still capable of recognising his friends and family and has been spared some of the worst symptoms of the disease, such as episodes of rage, terror, and depression.
The 18-time Grammy winner's family said in the profile that he was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2016, and opened up about why they opted to come forward and share his story now.
The singer's wife 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."
Alzheimer's is a brain disease characterised by progressive memory loss and can often lead to dementia/ Many of those who suffer from the disease end up losing their ability to speak, understand and recognise their loved ones. (ANI)