Sex Pistols rocker John Lydon has candidly discussed becoming a full-time carer for his wife Nora Forster who has Alzheimer’s.
The singer, 65, also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, has said that he has now accepted that his beloved wife’s condition is ‘incurable’ and will ‘never improve’.
Speaking to The Times he explained how her Alzheimer’s is a ‘wicked and debilitating’ disease and, although she forgets most things, she ‘doesn’t forget me’.
Difficult: Sex Pistols rocker John Lydon has candidly discussed becoming a full-time carer for his wife Nora who has Alzheimer’s (pictured in 2017)
John married the German publishing heiress, 78, in 1979 and first revealed his wife’s devastating diagnosis in 2018.
He said on Saturday: ‘Alzheimer’s is a wicked, debilitating, slow, deliberate process, but we’re going through that together.
‘She doesn’t forget me. She forgets everything else but not me.’
Sad: The singer, 65, also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, has said that he has now accepted that his beloved wife’s condition is ‘incurable’ and will ‘never improve’ (pictured in 1984)
He added: ‘I know it’s going to deteriorate into something really, really terrible, but we’re facing it with a sense of dignity.
‘I mean, it would be easy enough to run away and say, “Oh, it’s not my responsibility; things aren’t the same”. B***cks to that.’
The icon went on to explain that when he made a commitment to her it was ‘forever’ and that he still stands by that, adding that he is ‘proud to do the best I can for her’.
He said that the couple – who have been married for 45 years – are a ‘proper pair of people who love and adore each other’.
Loving: Speaking to The Times he explained how her Alzheimer’s is a ‘wicked and debilitating’ disease and that although she forgets most things she ‘doesn’t forget me’
He also described how he feels lucky to have the money to care for her as, since her illness began to deteriorate, she has accidentally started fires at two of their homes.
The couple settled in a seaside suburb of Los Angeles in the 1980s and he has another house in Malibu and one in London.
Since the fires, John has had to replace gas stoves with electric hobs and now prepares the food himself.
Hell raiser: The singer, known as Johnny Rotten, is pictured with bandmates Glen Matlock and Steve Jones
In the interview he detailed how there isn’t a huge amount of help available for her type of illness and that its progression is still a ‘huge unknown’.
John said that she carries a pink teddy for comfort and gets disorientated easily if she is in a new place, but that they spend quality time together at home watching comedies to keep her brain ‘alert’.
He went on to say that as a full-time carer you can get ‘quite suicidal’ and there are moments when he is ‘overwhelmingly sad’ but that he just has to accept it.
The couple never had children but John became stepfather to her daughter Ariane, The Slits singer Ari Up.
John believes Nora showed the first signs of Alzheimer’s after Ariane died of breast cancer 11 years ago, at the age of 48.
Last June John revealed that the couple had been searching out the best possible care for Nora as her condition deteriorated.
Stoic: In the interview he detailed how there isn’t a huge amount of help available for her type of illness and that its progression is still a ‘huge unknown’ (pictured in 2005)
And John revealed how impressed experts have been that she still remembers him, and he suggested ‘a bit of love goes a long way’ when he comes to taking care of her.
He insisted he has no plans of putting Nora into a home in Los Angeles – where they both live – despite the strain her illness has on both their lives.
Her condition is one of the reasons John has stepped back from the public eye in recent years.
In a 2018 radio interview, John brought up his wife’s illness, but said he is a natural carer after he became guardian to stepdaughter Ariane’s children.
He said: ‘It’s something I feel I was trained for. One of my jobs before the Pistols was looking after problem children.
‘The Sex Pistols were obviously problem children and anyone younger would also do for me. I’m a natural caregiver, I just can’t help it.’
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER DISEASE THAT ROBS SUFFERERS OF THEIR MEMORIES
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 different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience their 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 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of which more than 500,000 have Alzheimer’s.
It is estimated that the number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 will rise to over 1 million.
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 are.
Source: Alzheimer’s Society