Former First Lady Isn’t Sure Former President Reagan Even Recognizes Her

AP Wire Service

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nancy Reagan says her husband, in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, may not even recognize her anymore.

In an interview with CBS television’s ”60 Minutes II,” the former first lady said Ronald Reagan’s disease has robbed the couple of their post-White House golden years. The interview will be broadcast Wednesday in the United States.

The 91-year-old former president spends his days secluded in his Bel-Air home in Mrs. Reagan’s care. Asked if her husband even knows who she is, she said, “I don’t know.”

“The golden years are when you can sit back, hopefully, and exchange memories, and that’s the worst part about this disease: there’s nobody to exchange memories with … and we had a lot of memories,” Mrs. Reagan said.

Ronald Reagan’s memory loss also has taken the joy out of milestone occasions, like the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary March 4.

“I’d love to be able to talk to him about it, and there were times when I had to catch myself because I’d reach out and start to say, ‘Honey, remember when?”’ Mrs. Reagan said.

Although Mrs. Reagan is visited regularly by daughter Patti Davis, the former first lady said she is lonely.

“Yes, it’s lonely, because really, you know, when you come right down to it, you’re in it alone and there’s nothing that anybody can do for you,” Mrs. Reagan said.

The nation’s 40th chief executive has been seen in public only rarely since his poignant 1994 letter announcing to the world that he had the memory-sapping disease.