Tony Christie, 79, has revealed he has been diagnosed with dementia. The singer famous for the tune Amarillo was able to catch the condition “early” after spotting warning signs.
One of the key signs of dementia is memory loss, which was also the first symptom that cropped up for Tony.
Speaking on Steph’s Packed Lunch, he shared that he started experiencing issues with his memory.
He told the presenter Steph McGovern that he had received the health news last year.
Tony recalled: “I said to my wife, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m starting to forget people’s names and things.
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Tony then explained he has an autocue with lyrics on stage. Although he doesn’t use it much, it makes him feel “safe”.
He said: “I have to have a TV screen on stage with the lyrics. I don’t very often use it. It’s there just to make me feel safe.”
While dementia can affect everyone differently, there are some common “early” symptoms that can strike first, according to the NHS.
Like in Tony’s case, memory loss ranks first on this list of warning signs.
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Other “early” symptoms of the mind-robbing condition can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks (like getting confused over the correct change when shopping)
- Struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
- Being confused about time and place
- Mood changes.
The health service recommends speaking to a GP “sooner rather than later” when you start experiencing problems.
Tony first expressed concern over dementia in 2019, when he told Mirror about declining memory.
The star said: “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.”
The NHS explains that genes alone are not thought to cause dementia but certain genetic factors can be involved.
Despite Tony’s fears over the condition being confirmed last year, he stays positive and is looking forward to the future.
Tony said on the Channel 4 show: “I’m looking forward to working. I love working.
“I’m going to carry on and carry on… I feel good.”