The 66-year-old pop legend raised eyebrows last weekend when he was filmed slurring his words and falling off the stage during a gig in California, but he's adamant his bizarre behaviour wasn't down to booze but the chronic disorder.
He said: "I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming."
The '70s heartthrob had to watch his grandfather fight the condition, which is a persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease and marked by memory disorders and personality changes, and witnessed his own mother Evelyn Ward "disappear" into dementia until she eventually died at the age of 89.
Speaking to People magazine, he recalled: "In the end, the only way I knew she recognised me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room. ... I feared I would end up that way."
Although it's taken him a while to come to terms with the disease, David has now decided to stop touring so that he can focus on his health and happiness.
He explained to the publication: "I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I've been without any distractions," he says. "I want to love. I want to enjoy life."
David hasn't had the easiest of times over the years as he was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in November 2010 and then dished out the same charge in August 2013 and January 2014 when he committed the same crime.
Around the same time of his second DUI charge, David's wife Sue Shifrin-Cassidy, with whom he has 25-year-old son Beau, ended their marriage.
She filed for divorce later that year and he declared himself bankrupt in 2015.
David has also been very open about his battle with substance abuse and even did a stint in rehab in 2014 in a bid to beat his demons once and for all.
I gather Cassidy is "going Campbell". From what I know of the dementia clinical literature, patients go through several phases, leading up to the point where they are debilitated and require care. And at certain points during maybe the first 1/3 of the disease's progression, they tend to be unaware of their cognitive status, and often denying of it. After all, if you can't remember, then you can't remember that you didn't remember (remembering itself being an "event" that one might forget, like whether you left the oven on, or the house locked), and tend to react negatively towards those who do and suggest you didn't. Many partners, spouses, and close friends/family notice an increasing belligerence in the individual. Depending on one's pre-morbid personality, dementia can bring out the "prick-itude" in some folks. In others, it just amplifies their gentleness. Weird how those dice fall.
This is complicated by what happens to public figures that are dealing with both incipient dementia and substance overuse problems, and how others interpret their behaviour. A friend who had many dealings with former Alberta premier Ralph Klein told me that, in his view at least, a lot of what was often attributed to drunkenness in Klein's latter years in office was likely due to dementia creeping up on him. Of course, that was his post-hoc assessment, and not what he or others thought before the diagnosis was made.
There's 5 or 6 different forms of dementia, Alzheimer's being one. It skips generations for those who had a grandparent with it...stay away from cooking with aluminum cookware and eating tums etc. Aluminum is a leading cause to the disease. Beer and pop cans should be ok because they aren't heated.
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