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Lord Kinnock says wife’s Alzheimer’s is a challenge but he ‘deals with it out of love’

Ex-Labour leader says disease makes his wife extremely frustrated and is a challenge to him

Jane Dalton
Wednesday 18 May 2022 22:08 BST
Neil and Glenys Kinnock have been married for over 50 years
Neil and Glenys Kinnock have been married for over 50 years (GETTY IMAGES)

Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock has said the hardest part of being married to someone with dementia is “the knowledge that the change is going to continue and they are ceasing, very gradually, to be the person that they have been”.

Baroness Kinnock, 77, herself a former minister, was diagnosed in 2017 with Alzheimer’s disease, it was revealed earlier this year.

Talking of his wife’s condition, he said: “Glenys is a highly articulate, immensely lively, funny woman, a brilliant cook, wonderful mother and grandmother - and in all of those areas she has lost capability.

“She would meet every challenge, whether it was border guards in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or a new recipe, she would take it on.

He told TalkTV: “She’d get away with immensely challenging sometimes very dangerous situations with this hint of mischief – a special magic.

“For that to be ebbing, gradually being erased by this disease, makes it difficult for her, sometimes makes her extremely frustrated and is a challenge to me. But I deal with it out of love.”

The ex-Labour Party leader, 80, said he and his wife were lucky enough to have family support and to be able to afford carers for up to five hours each day.

But, he added, for millions of others without resources the disease “can be quite devastating”.

The couple learnt of her condition after a holiday when she had got her words confused.

Lord Kinnock said: “She has supported me for 50 years and I’ve been helping her out for five so I’ve got a way to go to catch her up. But it doesn’t work like that as people who deal with the reality of dementia will tell you. You cope with it in a way that’s as near to normality as achievable.”

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