The death of popular Blue Peter presenter, John Noakes, is a timely reminder of the devastating effect of dementia.
Noakes was a stalwart of children’s television in the 70s and 80s. During his 12 years on Blue Peter, he climbed Nelson’s Column without a safety net and completed a record-breaking free-fall parachute jump. But perhaps the greatest challenge he ever faced was one that he did not choose; dementia.
Mr Noakes’ family announced his death, aged 83, yesterday and described the toll that Alzheimer’s took on him and his family.
A statement from a family friend, Wendy Downes, read: “[Noakes] had endured and suffered from Alzheimer’s over recent years and whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends, his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing,”
Noakes’ battle with dementia came to the press’s attention two years ago when Noakes went missing from his home in Majorca. After a 10 hour search, the police found him badly dehydrated near a storm drain.
His co-presenter on Blue Peter, Peter Purves, told the BBC: “He was suffering badly from Alzheimer’s in recent years, and in the very recent years it got extremely serious.”
Caring for a person with dementia can be difficult and exhausting. But, a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can help you make the decisions your loved one can no longer make, such as what kind of medical treatment is appropriate, where the person should live, etc.
While John Noakes may have suffered from Alzheimer’s in later life, his real legacy is in the joy he brought to millions of children as they tuned in to Blue Peter to watch his dare-devil antics. It is for this that he should be remembered.