Dr. Mehmet Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show” revealed Monday that his mother Suna has Alzheimer’s, admitting he had overlooked the signs.
The popular TV doc wrote on Instagram that he had blamed her increased stubbornness on age. He attributed her recent giveaway of belongings to people she hardly knew as an attempt to “lighten her load” after his father’s passing. But in hindsight Oz acknowledged they were early indicators of Alzheimer’s, a progressive disorder that wastes away brain cells, resulting in the loss of thinking and behavioral skills.
“It was painful to admit that my mother’s health was declining, but doing so allowed us to get her help as soon as possible,” he wrote. “You have the power to speak up and say something if you suspect any of the above symptoms in a loved one. Doing so may be uncomfortable, but it just might help slow down the Alzheimer’s progression in someone you love.”
“I’m feeling guilty because I completely missed the signs until fairly late in the process,” Oz, 59, told People.
“The woman that I love whose bright eyes were there for every experience I’ve ever had as a child — those eyes are starting to dim,” he added. “The light that that made her who she was is starting to go out.”
“I’m going to lose my mom twice,” he said in a clip (above) from Monday’s show, with Maria Shriver.
On his website, Oz listed “six early symptoms you should never ignore like I did.”
-Challenges in planning
-Difficulty completing tasks
-Confusing time and place - my mom would often ask me to come over for lunch, not realizing I was in the U.S. and it would require an 11-hour flight to get to Turkey.
-Problems with words
-Trouble understanding visuals - my mom requested that we move her sofa to a corner of the room it clearly wouldn’t fit in.
-Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
If you suspect these signs in a loved one, bring up the possibility of Alzheimer’s in non-accusatory way. Or, you can speak with their physician or other family members.