Reagan's Condition Said to Be Worsening


Jun 10, 2002
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Reagan's Condition Said to Be Worsening

New York Daily News
Sunday, August 11, 2002; Page A05

Former president Ronald Reagan, 91, is steadily slipping in his terminal battle with Alzheimer's disease, according to close friends and former associates.

Sources close to the 40th president report that Reagan's mental deterioration has accelerated in recent months.

"He no longer knows who Nancy is," said one source, referring to Reagan's wife of 50 years. "Some days he seems to recognize her as someone who's familiar, but most of the time she's just a blank to him."

Until a few months ago, Reagan's physical condition had held steady, even as his mental faculties continued to decline. But that is no longer the case. He disclosed on Nov. 5, 1994, that he had Alzheimer's.

"He's becoming more difficult to deal with," a source close to the family said. "Both his physical and his mental problems have gotten worse."

A former aide confirmed this account.

In a statement of support to actor Charlton Heston on Friday, Nancy Reagan hinted at the demands that Alzheimer's puts on a family. Heston disclosed Friday that he has symptoms consistent with the early stages of Alzheimer's.

"Our family knows all too well the cruelty of this disease, and we pray that God will give the Heston family, especially [Heston's wife] Lydia, . . . the strength to face each day that lies ahead," Nancy Reagan said.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

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