Maureen McGovern Reveals What It’s Like To Live With Alzheimer’s Disease – ‘Don’t Give Up’

The singer Maureen McCormick is opening up about what life with Alzheimer's disease is really like in a new interview.

The legendary singer Maureen McGovern made the sad announcement earlier this year that she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was therefore retiring from performing. Now, the 73 year-old performer is opening up about what living with Alzheimer’s is really like.

‘Don’t Give Up’

McGovern revealed that while she’s already starting to lose her everyday vocabulary to the disease, she can still recite the lyrics to her hopeful 1973 anthem “The Morning After,” which include: “It’s not too late, we should be giving / Only with love can we climb / It’s not too late, not while we’re living / Let’s put our hands out in time.” 

These are the words that McGovern is living by these days.

“It’s not too late,” McGovern told People Magazine. “There’s hope. Don’t give up. That’s my mantra. Don’t give up.”

When McGovern revealed her diagnosis to the world back in August, she admitted that she “struggled with the inevitable shock with fear and, frankly, hopelessness.”

Check out her full reveal of her diagnosis in the Facebook video below:

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McGovern Feels ‘Blessed’

In the months since then, McGovern has moved into a retirement community in Columbus, Ohio, and she’s surrounded herself with family and friends. Her younger sister lives nearby, and she helps to keep her affairs in order. 

“I truly, truly do believe I’ve been blessed with so many things,” she said.

Arranger and accompanist Michael Shirtz, a longtime friend of McGovern’s, recalled that she began struggling to remember lyrics around five years ago. She was finally conclusively diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2021 after a series of tests, but when she informed him of her disease, “there was never an ‘oh woe is me,’ or ‘how sad is this.'” 

“There was a conversation and an excitement about, ‘OK, so we can’t do this, but here’s what we’re going to do, and let’s figure it out,'” Shirtz said. “That just comes from her spirit.”

Music is still a major part of McGovern’s life, and she spends much of her time listening to her massive collection of records.

“Sometimes classical, sometimes jazz, sometimes I’ll pull out the old records and sing with myself,” she said with a laugh.

While she no longer performs publicly, McGovern enjoys singing for the other residents in her retirement home.

“You just go one day at a time,” she explained. “Every day is a day to make it better.”

Related: Ronald Reagan’s Son Recalls A Touching Moment With His Dad

McGovern Still Finds Joy In Life

McGovern went on to say that she finds joy in the fact “that I’m still here, frankly.”

“I don’t fear dying, particularly,” she continued. “I just want to make sure I get all of what I can out of living. Whatever’s out there, we don’t know. So you just have to start singing.”

When McGovern revealed her initial diagnosis back in August, she made sure to end it with a message of hope. 

“We are all patients and caregivers at some time in our lives. I have experienced how music and the arts free our spirits and opens our hearts to our common humanity,” she said. “I hope you will continue to join me on these next endeavors.”

McGovern is truly handling an unimaginably difficult situation with dignity and grace. Please join us in saying a prayer for her as she continues her Alzheimer’s battle. 

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