Joan Collins health: Star fears ‘terrifying illness’ at 88 – ‘It is better to drift off’

Joan Collins says people are 'terrified' to say the wrong thing

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The star, who was born in Paddington, London, made her way all the way to Hollywood, achieving massive success within the soap opera Dynasty. Achieving global fame along with a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy award, the star has also been blessed with good health. But as Dame Joan explains herself, others have not been so lucky, including members of her own family.

Speaking to the Daily Record, the star spoke about her mother-in-law and her battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Describing the condition as “terrifying”, seeing first hand what the progressive disease can do, Dame Joan remains adamant that she wouldn’t want to put her family through the same trauma if she ever developed the condition.

The star continued to say: “You have to enjoy life, and I live totally in the present.

“Touch wood, I’ve never had any health problems other than a bit of toothache… But my husband Percy’s mother had Alzheimer’s and that’s a terrifying illness.

“You don’t want to live like that. It is far better to drift off slowly.

“Somebody said to me the other day that people 100 years ago didn’t get Alzheimer’s because they died so young, and that’s true.”

The Mayo Clinic explains that dementia is used to describe the group of symptoms that affect not only memory, but thinking and social abilities. These symptoms are so severe that they interfere with an individual’s daily life.

There are multiple different types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms of dementia include the following:

  • Difficulty communicating or finding words
  • Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities, such as getting lost while driving
  • Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks
  • Difficulty with planning and organising
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Confusion and disorientation.

Although it is difficult to say what she would do, if she were in a similar situation, Dame Joan has not shied away from the fact that she agrees with assisted suicide.

Dignitas is a clinic based in Switzerland where people with chronic illnesses are helped by medical professionals to end their lives.

Currently under UK law, assisted dying is illegal in both England and Wales, but a private members bill introduced by Baroness Meacher aims to change that.

The Assisted Dying Bill would create a legal framework to allow a terminally ill patient to end their life, provided they have the consent of two medical practitioners and the High Court. The bill was debated by Members of the Lords at the second reading back in October of this year, with the Committee stage yet to be scheduled by Parliament.

Speaking about the process of assisted dying, Dame Joan said: “If I was in that situation, I don’t know what I would do. It would depend on how bad it is. But I agree with Dignitas.

“I have so many children, so many grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and I wouldn’t want to inflict that on them. They don’t let animals carry on suffering – so why let humans live?”

As mentioned previously, Dame Joan has been lucky to avoid any such major health conditions, and even in her older age she is dedicated to keeping fit.

The Daily Record reported that the star works out three times a week and makes sure she takes certain vitamins and supplements.

The star revealed that “fish oils and the occasional Berocca” are what she uses to keep her characteristic figure in top form.

The star is also careful with what she eats, confessing that if she doesn’t monitor her diet she will “look like a lump”.

“I don’t count calories and I eat healthily, but I eat dairy, I eat butter. I don’t believe in all this no fat thing. I don’t believe in fads,” Dame Joan explained.

The NHS explains that a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health. The Eatwell Guide also explains that individuals should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, high starchy foods, some dairy alternatives, pulses, unsaturated oils and at least six to eight glasses of water a day.

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