Struggling with dementia: Disease has no bounds - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Struggling with dementia: Disease has no bounds

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Former teen heartthrob David Cassidy has revealed that he is suffering from dementia and has quit performing. The progressive, degenerative disease has no bounds, even affecting families in Eastern Iowa. 

A major icon from the 1970s, who starred as Keith Patridge in the TV hit "The Partridge Family," is dealing with memory loss. Cassidy recently struggled on stage during a performance, slurring his words and falling off stage. The 66-year-old entertainer who also has a long history with alcoholism confirmed his own diagnosis after a report suggested he had started drinking again. 

Cassidy is no stranger to dementia, both his grandfather and mother suffered from it.

Cassidy telling People magazine,  "I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming."

The disease hits close to home for families who have been suffering with dementia. 

Lori Hartke cares for her 82-year-old mother Darlene Joy who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's-the most common type of dementia. 

"It's been about seven years. Seven or eight years," said Hartke.

"I don't think it's been that long," said Joy.

"Yes mom, times been going faster than we think," said Hartke 

Her mother's memory fading, Hartke says her mom is still self-sufficient for the most part.

"I think the shock of it is how early in life it can really start and how unaware of ourselves we could have even just a little bit and not even know it," said Hartke. 

For Cassidy, an interview with Access Hollywood  shows the effects of dementia, Cassidy forgetting the lyrics to one of his biggest hits. When asked to sing "I Think I Love You," Cassidy forgets the lyrics.

Just like Cassidy, Hartke says there are moments where the disease is hard to ignore.  

"She was having a hard-time putting up her medicine," said Hartke. "This woman knows exactly what medicine goes into what whole at what time of the day, and I told her mom, I'm gonna have to get this figured out. Someday, it's not gonna come around, and what am I going to do?"

In the meantime, the best remedy is companionship. 

"Just be with her mostly, just to be with her," said Joy. "We go places and do things, and get groceries. And we giggle a lot, but she's my best friend. And I love her to death."

Hartke says the local Alzheimer's support group has been a significant lifeline for her- in understanding the disease. She thanks others in the group who are so open and willing to share their experiences.

For more information on local Alzheimer's support groups, visit the Alzheimer's Association website. 

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