Singer Tony Bennett Sharing Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Helps Give Voice to Families Who Live With Disease

Singer Tony Bennett Sharing Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Helps Give Voice to Families Who Live With Disease

Minnieetta Jones and Juan Bejar have been married for 44-years. Jones is not just his wife. She’s Bejar’s caregiver.

When entertainer Tony Bennett confirmed earlier this week he has Alzheimer’s disease, it turned up the volume for families who are living with it, like Minnieetta Jones and Juan Bejar of Mesquite.

“I forget he has Alzheimer’s sometimes because it seems like he knows what he’s doing,” Jones said. “You think you know everything about it, then all of a sudden your whole world turns upside down again because something else happened.”

Jones said her husband of 44-years was diagnosed about eight-years ago.

“I’m very glad my husband was such a good husband all of his life,” Jones said. She said the disease can be isolating for the patient and the caregiver.

“He asks the same question over and over again. People don’t like that and it makes you feel bad,” Jones said. “But if your family backs you up and they remember the person that he was before, it makes a big difference.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Another 16-million people take care of loved ones who have the disease, without getting a paycheck for it.

“I want every care partner to know you are never alone, even though this can be quite a lonely journey,” Melissa Griffin of the North Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association said. “One of the biggest stresses is the anxiety and the uncertainty.”

Jones said finding ways through technology to talk to others going through a similar experience during the pandemic has been helpful.

“I learn a lot from other people and I realize how lucky I am, where I am because you find out there’s other people having it a lot worse than you do,” Jones said. “You have to say that God is good and isn’t going to give you more than you can handle.”


Henry Strother

Henry Strother started working for Business Journal in 2020.  Henry grew up in a small town in Western Florida, but moved to Tampa to attend college.  Before joining Business Journal, Henry worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations.  He covers business, technology and lifestyle stories.