Having grown up in a big, Italian family, “Anthony Dominick Benedetto” – better known as Tony Bennett – may have been royalty. His music, and especially his CHRISTMAS music, were in constant rotation on my Grandparents’ 5-disc changer.
Now that we’re a few decades down the road, and Tony’s Alzheimer’s disease has advanced, it is remarkable to see how he continues to fight on to live a great life in spite of it. And, perhaps other than his closest family, no one has been more instrumental in that desire to “keep living normally” than Lady Gaga. They first performed 10 years ago, which lead to a partnership with dozens of live performances, two albums, and some incredibly special moments. In just the past few weeks, they performed together in New York, with Tony remembering Gaga’s name after having previously forgotten it. Some of his memory care doctors attribute this to their artistic collaboration, and perhaps, using the brain differently than others who have been stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease.
While Tony’s return to the way he was “before” is not in the cards, his friendship and professional relationship with Gaga has, no doubt, lengthened his life, and increased his QUALITY of life. And for that, we should all thank Lady Gaga for her work to help make a national treasure a part of our lasting lexicon.
And, we should all keep studying music. Alzheimer’s Disease impacts us all, without regard for socio-economic status, creed, color, or any other variable. If we can learn anything from their relationship, it is that continuing to engage like Gaga and Tony do is positive – and that we can continue to learn MORE so that future Alzheimer’s patients like Tony Bennett can live a longer, happier life.