‘My bl**** memory’s going’ Michael Caine’s career-ending issues

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During an interview back in October 2021, Caine is described as having a “gammy leg, dodgy spine and reckons the only time he leaves the house these days is when his wife has the time to take him out for a drive”. The star also admitted that he is “more or less done with movies” now he has reached the grand age of 89. “I’ve done 150 movies. I think I’ve done enough,” he so rightly said.

With a back catalogue of numerous classic films, and a knighthood, Caine is the epitome of success within the acting industry, but sadly like the rest of us, old age has started to affect him.

Speaking during the interview, a few months before his 89th birthday, he said: “Also, I’m 88. My mind’s not as agile as it used to be.”

It is this sense of losing his mind that motivated Caine to hang up his acting career and enjoy a quieter life with his wife Shakira Baksh and his net worth of $80million (£66million).

Explaining his current state of health, Caine shared: “I mean, I’m fine, I’m well. But I can’t walk and I can’t stand for very long and now I don’t know whether my bl**** memory’s going.

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“And I’ve worked with people like that. I worked with one actor who had all his bloody lines written on the wall because he never remembered any of them.

“And there are others who wear earphones and have the assistant director read the next line to them. Johnny Depp – he does that [Depp, has suggested otherwise].

“I can’t remember who the other bloke was. Older American actor. It was a long time ago now.”

With no suggestion that the star’s memory loss is caused by anything more sinister than old age, it still clearly affected Caine, who does not want to end up like some of his counterparts.

In fact, having lost his close friend Doug Hayward, a celebrity tailor known as the “Buddha of Mount Street”, to dementia, Caine has shied away from ever playing a character with the condition.

Revealing in one of his books, Caine shared that he has turned down the role of a dementia sufferer because it would have evoked memories of his close friend Hayward, who passed away aged 73 after a period of poor health linked to vascular dementia, the second-most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s.

“I couldn’t do it,” Caine told reporters in 2018. He continued: “As an actor, if I’m going to play someone with dementia, I have to keep thinking back to someone I know who had dementia. And the only person I knew was Dougie.

“I saw it coming. Dementia is like watching someone disappearing over the horizon for two years. They get smaller every day.”

Having suffered heartbreak from the loss of his friend, Caine, with the help of his wife, actively tries to keep in good health, which proved successful after the actor lost 30Ibs in weight.

“I’ve had to cut back on the drinking and I’m always looking up what’s the best thing against cancer, so I’ll eat that or do this or not do that. Without her [Shakira], I’d have been dead long ago. I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day and smoke several packs of cigarettes.

“But you know I’ve lost 30lbs just because I want to see my grandchildren. They’re twins of six and a boy of seven. I’d like to get to 17 for the boy.”

Bupa healthcare reassures individuals that worsening memory is something that affects nearly everyone as they get older. Not being too much of a problem for many, in some cases it can be confused with dementia.

The term dementia refers to a set of symptoms. This includes problems with memory, thinking, reasoning, learning, language, and daily activities. There are many different conditions that cause dementia. The most common ones are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

However, one of the key differences between age-related memory loss and dementia is the impact it has on an individual’s everyday life. If you find you take longer to remember things, but getting there in the end, this probably isn’t anything to worry about. But you or a loved one noticing the following may be more of a concern:

  • Not recalling things that happened recently
  • Forgetting conversations or repeating questions
  • Losing or misplacing belongings
  • changes in behaviour or personality
  • difficulty speaking and understanding
  • becoming easily confused
  • struggling with daily tasks like driving, cooking or housework.

The causes of age-related memory loss also differ from dementia, and seeking professional help from a GP will be able to determine the cause of the memory loss more easily. Causes of natural age-related memory loss include:

  • The hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in the formation and retrieval of memories, often deteriorates with age.
  • Hormones and proteins that protect and repair brain cells and stimulate neural growth also decline with age.
  • Older people often experience decreased blood flow to the brain, which can impair memory and lead to changes in cognitive skills.

Bupa also explains that emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety, or depression, can make a person more forgetful and can be mistaken for dementia. For instance, someone who has recently retired or who is coping with the death of a spouse, relative, or friend may feel sad, lonely, worried, or bored. Trying to deal with these life changes leaves some people feeling confused or forgetful.

If you or someone you know is worried about memory loss, visit Dementia UK for specialist support and for help in determining a cause.

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