She revealed the profound challenges they face as he battles frontotemporal dementia (FTD).It is a rare form of dementia characterised by changes in behaviour, personality, and language.
In an interview on the Today show at its New York studio, Emma fought back tears as she shared the difficult journey they are navigating. She expressed the overwhelming emotions of coping with the “grief and sadness” of witnessing Bruce’s decline. She also highlighted the bittersweet aspect of their young daughters, 11-year-old Mabel and 8-year-old Evelyn, stepping up to care for their ailing father.
“What I’m learning is that dementia is hard,” Emma disclosed. “It’s hard on the person diagnosed. It’s also hard on the family. And that is no different for Bruce or myself or our girls.” She emphasised that dementia is truly a “family disease.”
Emma, known for her honesty, shared how they broached the subject of Bruce’s illness with their children. “We’re a very honest and open household,” she stated. “The most important thing was to be able for us to say what the disease was, explain what it is because when you know what the disease is from a medical standpoint it sort of all makes sense. So it was important that we let them know what it is because, you know, I don’t want there to be any stigma or shame attached to their dad’s diagnosis, or for any form of dementia.”
When asked by host Hoda Kotb whether Bruce is aware of his condition, Emma paused and candidly replied, “Hard to know.” She acknowledged the ambiguity surrounding his awareness.
Despite the immense challenges that come with caring for her husband, Emma also highlighted how receiving a formal diagnosis brought some clarity and relief. “I think it was the blessing and the curse,” she said. “You know, to sort of finally understand what was happening so that I can be into the acceptance of what is. It doesn’t make it any less painful, but just being in the acceptance and just being in the know of what is happening to Bruce just makes it a little bit easier.”
Emma’s poignant update sheds light on the complex journey of dealing with dementia within a family.