Bruce Willis' Wife Emma Heming Willis Discusses ‘Caregiver Burnout’ Following Husband’s Dementia Diagnosis
Bruce Willis' family announced that the actor was battling a brain disorder called aphasia back in March 2022. At the time, his family members and wife Emma Heming Willis shared that the condition had been 'impacting his cognitive abilities'.
A month earlier, she had provided an update on her husband's health, disclosing that the 68-year-old was suffering from frontotemporal dementia, which had led her to advice on how to cope with the tough reality of being a caregiver to a loved one.
In a recent video conversation with dementia coach Gertrude Jordan, the 44-year-old model reflected on her difficulty with asking others for help.
While she said that 'people actually do want to help', she admitted to not knowing what tasks to give them.
Jordan advised that she allow her community members to 'relieve' her of tasks, such as driving to a doctor's appointment, or letting someone else sit with her partner for 30 minutes while she practices self-care.
She sympathised with Heming Willis’ difficulty of having her close ones feeling 'nervous' to pay the family a visit and call, considering that they aren’t familiar with 'seeing the person they knew in a different state'.
Willis' wife added: 'That can be a little tricky.'
The mum-of-two also reflected on her coping strategies, which include making time to focus on her goals in the morning. She said she practices 'flipping the script', and never dwelling in the 'doom and gloom'.
After Jordan asked Heming Willis how she was feeling at the time of their conversation, she responded: 'Today? Good. After speaking with you, good. You know, I have my moments. It just depends. I'm hanging in there and doing the best that I can. And, turning my pain into purpose.'
Heming, who in March this year, shut down claims she was using her husband’s dementia for 'fame' on social media, shared her determination to raise awareness of aphasia and using her platform to honour 'caregivers, who are unsung heroes out there'.
She added: 'And then I’m going to turn my grief and my anger and my sadness into something good around something that feels less than. Watch this space because I didn't come to play.'
Bruce Willis' daughter Scout commented on the post: 'HELL YES! I am so so proud of you! [sic].'
The Die Hard star's family revealed in February 2023 that his condition had deteriorated and while 'painful’ to accept ‘it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis'.
The statement, signed by Heming Willis, Bruce's five daughters and his ex-wife Demi Moore, read: 'FTD is a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can strike anyone. For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, FTD is likely much more prevalent than we know.'
It highlighted that if he could respond, he would spread awareness about the 'debilitating disease'.
According to the NHS, aphasia hinders a person's ability to understand and use language - through reading, listening, speaking and typing or writing. Frontotemporal dementia can cause personality changes, speech difficulty and motor impairment.
In an August 2022 Instagram post, Heming shared: ‘My grief can be paralysing but I'm learning how to live along side it.’
Willis retired from acting following his aphasia diagnosis.
Click on these NHS links for more information on aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.
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