Dr Oz: Model B. Smith Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s
Dr. Oz shared that B. Smith took the modeling world by storm and then became a restaurateur and TV host. Now, she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and she welcomed Dr. Oz into her home so she could share her story.
As a model, B. Smith became the first black woman to be on the cover of Mademoiselle Magazine. She then capitalized on her good looks and eye for design by creating an empire. She was even called “the black Martha Stewart.” Suddenly, B. Smith was unable to remember things and couldn’t multitask. She went to the doctor and found that at age 60, she was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s.
B. Smith explained that when you’re used to doing a lot of things at one, it feels like the air is taken out of you, and you’re not quite the lady you used to be. Now four years after her diagnosis, her busy life has slowed down considerably and her husband is now her primary caregiver. B. Smith said she’s actually more of a homebody, but she wishes she could cook quicker.
Dr Oz: B. Smith & Husband Dan Battle Alzheimer’s
Her husband Dan says she used to make things look fluid and easy, but that’s not longer the case. He said sometimes he forgets what’s going on. The couple reads the newspaper together and do word games, but not always successfully. They have been married 22 years, but Alzheimer’s is the biggest challenge they’ve faced.
Dan said you’re expecting what you had, but you don’t have what you had. “But you still have her,” he said.
B. Smith was on the show and she said she’s trying to keep their life moving forward as it always has by cooking and spending time with her family. She said when she first found out about her diagnosis, she knew she wasn’t the woman she had always been. She said she didn’t understand what was going on until she got to the doctors and learned she had Alzheimer’s.
In the beginning, B. Smith was hesitant to tell her husband about her diagnosis because she didn’t want him to go through what she was going through. Dan said the great thing about his wife is that she’s always been independent and a person that figures out how to do things regardless. He said everything she did was effortless because she was gracious and a decent person, and it wasn’t a facade.
Dr Oz: Legendary Model’s Struggle With Alzheimer’s
Dan said he started to see little signs of change, meaning that things were forgotten and being on time became less important. He thought maybe his wife needed a vacation because he didn’t understand why his wife was moving so slowly. He said his wife used to take leftovers and make them look like a four course meal. Dan said he had to have a lot of patience and it’s frustrating for the both of them.
Dr. Oz said he was worried he was causing B. Smith pain, but she said she was just getting emotional. She said she’s seen quite a few people go through many things health-wise and it’s not like television where you can turn it off. She wanted people to understand that Alzheimer’s is something that anyone can be affected by. Dan said the reality is that now people in their 40s have early onset Alzheimer’s. He said if you look at the African-American population, they’re twice as likely as a general population to have Alzheimer’s.
Dan said what scares him is that he thinks of how many African-American women are the heads of household, and they get Alzheimer’s and suddenly can’t do things they used to.
Dr Oz: Alzheimer’s Disease Early Testing
Dr. Oz asked Dr. Mary Sano, an Alzheimer’s researcher from Mount Sinai hospital, why early testing is so important when it comes to Alzheimer’s. She said early testing is important because it allow you to get a treatment that could make a difference and the earlier you get them, the better the result. She explained that African-Americans get more diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, and those things may make it more apparent when they have cognitive problems. She said many people are hesitant to get help or medical attention, which is something that needs to be changed.
B. Smith shared that she knew it was important to get help. She also said that her relationship with her husband is so strong, but Dan had to put up with a lot with her. Dan said the time between not knowing what’s going on to the time you get a diagnosis is a critical time for couples. He said they went through that whole period, he called the “WTF period” and kept remembering he had to rationalize that it wasn’t the person, it was the disease.
He said B. Smith and he realize that everyone is given a deck of cards and they have to play a hand, and they’re going to play their hand to the best of their abilities.