Jackie Stewart heartbreak as he says wife is lost in many ways

Jackie Stewart details his wife's struggle with dementia

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Jackie, 83, has talked candidly about his wife Lady Helen’s dementia diagnosis. He has set up a charity, Race Against Dementia and is determined to increase funds and awareness of the condition. On Thursday, he sadly described his wife as being “lost in many ways” as he appeared on BBC Breakfast to highlight the serious nature of the progressive condition.

Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt welcomed Jackie as well as Alzheimer’s sufferer Tommy, who gave a heartbreaking account of his experience.

As Tommy explained how he remembers things from years ago in his life but forgets short-term details, Charlie asked Jackie if he experiences the same thing with Helen.

“Jackie, I hope you could hear Tommy talking – number one, he’s a big fan of yours,” Charlie commented.

“But as Tommy explained so well, he can remember your victories all those years ago but he cannot remember the journey here.”

Charlie continued: “In a way, that’s a snapshot of how it manifests itself for some people.”

“Well, I’m going through that with Helen,” the sporting legend replied.

“Because she was my timekeeper, she was my lap charter. And she remembers a lot of those days without any trouble at all.”

Detailing how his wife has been impacted by the condition, he heartbreakingly added: “The short-term memory is non-existent.

“She doesn’t know which house she’s in, she thinks we live in another house. And she’s totally lost in many ways.”

He continued: “But you know, going back to what’s happening with government today, I think it’s terribly important that the government do what they said they were going to do to get dementia put on a far higher level.

“Keep in mind right now, it’s like war almost, because for everybody born today, three people are going to die from dementia.

“And yet there’s no cure, and there hasn’t been for over 60 years.”

Tommy detailed the pain that came with his diagnosis, which came at the age of 58.

He explained the losses he suffered, including having his driver’s license taken away.

“I lost my job, we decided to downsize, buy a bungalow, and future-proof the house so it’s wheelchair-accessible and all that.

“You find out who your friends are because you lose a lot of your friends, but the ones who stay are really good.”

He added he felt he had a “superpower” which stopped people from talking to him once they found out about his diagnosis.

“It’s the ability to become invisible in a crowded room,” he explained. “People talk about the loneliness of having Alzheimer’s, I’ve only felt lonely when I’ve been in a room full of people.

“When I’m in a crowded room, people don’t talk to me because they think I’m stupid.”

Jackie also appeared on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday to spread the word about his charity and passion for helping those with the condition.

BBC Breakfast airs daily from 6am on BBC One.

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