Tony Christie says he’s not worried about having dementia


Singer Tony Christie has opened up about his dementia diagnosis on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday. 

The Road to Amarillo star, 79, said he is ‘not worried’ about the disease, is determined to keep performing – and he is keen to reassure others who have had the same diagnosis. 

He said: ‘I’ve got a feeling that within a few years, there will be tablets that will cure it. I’m not worried.’ 

‘I’m sure there will be tablets to cure it soon’: Tony Christie, 79, discussed having dementia on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday as he said he’s not worried about his diagnosis

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour. 

Detailing how he discovered he had the condition, he said: ‘I used to go through two or three crosswords a day and [I wasn’t able to]. I was like what’s happening to me.

‘[My wife Sue said] let’s go and get checked. They told me I had early onset dementia and that was two years ago. I ignored it.

‘I just said carry on and I just did carry on and worked. So why have I come out about it? Well, I’ve met a lot of people who have got it and they’re worried about it.

He said: 'I just said carry on and I just did carry on and worked. So why have I come out about it? Well, I've met a lot of people who have got it and they're worried about it'

He said: ‘I just said carry on and I just did carry on and worked. So why have I come out about it? Well, I’ve met a lot of people who have got it and they’re worried about it’

Tough time: Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour

Tough time: Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour

Tony said: 'The advice to people who are worried about it is to go and see a specialist and get on tablets'

Tony said: ‘The advice to people who are worried about it is to go and see a specialist and get on tablets’

Looking good: Tony put on a very dapper display when he was pictured leaving the studio

Looking good: Tony put on a very dapper display when he was pictured leaving the studio

The 12 steps to cut your risk of dementia

  • Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night
  • Regularly challenging the brain 
  • Looking after mental well-being 
  • Staying socially active 
  • Looking after your hearing 
  • Eating a balanced diet 
  • Staying physically active
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Drinking responsibly
  • Keeping a healthy level of cholesterol 
  • Maintaining healthy blood pressure 
  • Managing diabetes as well as possible

‘I am not worried about it.

‘I’ve spoken to specialists and they’ve given me tablets and they gradually worked.’

He continued: ‘The advice to people who are worried about it is to go and see a specialist and get on tablets.’

Tony previously revealed he was concerned he was developing dementia after noticing his memory has been getting worse back in 2019. 

The star said that despite performing the same songs for 50 years he now needs the lyrics on an autocue.

For now, Tony is trying not to ‘dwell’ on the diagnosis and he is about to travel to Nashville, Tennessee to record new music.

However, the star admits he fears the day may come when he won’t be able to get up on stage again, despite his wife of 55 years Sue’s insistence: ‘He will never lose that. We won’t let him lose that.’

Tony added that he doesn’t worry over not being to sing Amarillo, joking that the crowd sings it for him during his shows.

While his longterm memory is still clear, he admits he struggles to remember things in recent times.

But he sees a positive in the situation in that if it encourages other people to get tested and go on medication, then he will be pleased.

And he insists the show must go on, with the singer planning a celebratory gig for his upcoming 80th birthday. 

The hitmaker previously told how a test two years ago revealed a small build up of plaque on his brain was leading to memory problems.  

Tony told the Mirror: ‘I’ve noticed for a few years now that my memory has been getting worse, which is a serious concern especially as there’s history of dementia in my family.

‘It’s got to the point where I have to have the lyrics to all the songs I perform live written on autocue, and most of them I’ve been singing for half a century.’

However the star tried to remain positive, and added: ‘If it is bad news I’m expecting jokes from people saying they always suspected as much, seeing as I clearly still don’t know the way to Amarillo 48 years after that song was first a hit.’  

Fears: The star admits he fears the day may come when he won't be able to get up on stage again, despite his wife of 55 years Sue's insistence he 'won't lose that'

Fears: The star admits he fears the day may come when he won’t be able to get up on stage again, despite his wife of 55 years Sue’s insistence he ‘won’t lose that’

Tony also revealed he has had to write down his bandmates’ names as to ensure he doesn’t introduce them wrongly on stage.

And at a recent gig in Germany the I Did What I Did For Maria singer got the city he was in wrong, thinking he was in Hamburg when really he was in Leipzig.

Tony explained that although he tried to make a joke of it, the moment was ‘actually no laughing matter for me.’

He also had trouble remembering things while writing autobiography The Song Interpreter and had to ask his wife of 51 years Sue for help.  

Star: Tony's hits include Las Vegas and I Did What I Did For Maria, but sing-a-long classic Amarillo was his first song to sell a million copies. Tony is pictured performing in 1967

Star: Tony’s hits include Las Vegas and I Did What I Did For Maria, but sing-a-long classic Amarillo was his first song to sell a million copies. Tony is pictured performing in 1967

Although Tony’s hits included Las Vegas and I Did What I Did For Maria, Amarillo was his first song to sell a million copies.

The catchy tune was a hit again when in 2005 it was used by Peter Kay for a Comic Relief video.  

Originally, Tony was to star in the number with Peter Kay, but his involvement was whittled down until he was dropped from the filming schedule altogether.

Only a furious phone call from his manager son Sean, threatening to withhold permission to use the song, got him reinstated . . . for just 14 seconds of footage.

WHAT IS DEMENTIA?

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological disorders

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological disorders

A GLOBAL CONCERN 

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour. 

There are many types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.

Some people may have a combination of different types of dementia.

Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way.

Dementia is a global concern but it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?

The Alzheimer’s Society reports there are more than 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. This is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting between 50 and 75 per cent of those diagnosed.

In the US, it’s estimated there are 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage rise is expected in the coming years.

As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia.

Rates of diagnosis are improving but many people with dementia are thought to still be undiagnosed.

IS THERE A CURE?

Currently there is no cure for dementia.

But new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted, the more effective treatments can be.

Source: Alzheimer’s Society 



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