WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee is in hospice care as his Alzheimer's has progressed, his wife, Sally Quinn, said Sunday.
In an interview with C-Span, Quinn, a fellow Post reporter and Bradlee's wife of 36 years, said he had been battling the disease for many years. But in recent months, she said, it had gotten to the point where he could no longer care for himself.
Bradley, 93, was the executive editor of the Post from 1968 to 1991, during which he oversaw the paper's coverage of the Watergate scandal and the Pentagon Papers.
Quinn said Bradlee has been cared for at home since mid-September, and sleeps about 20 hours a day. Despite his dementia, she says, he still knows who she is.
She said she hid Bradlee's struggles until a business conference several years ago, and he was unable to answer basic questions about his life.
"You could see he was in decline," she said. "I started telling people because I just couldn't hide it anymore. Because you know once you say the A word [Alzheimer's], everybody's attitude changes toward you."
Among other things, Bradlee discontinued his habit as vice-president of the Post of meeting weekly at the newspaper to have lunch with former colleagues.
"In the last six weeks, he's just had such a decline that he can't participate at all anymore," she said.
Quinn said the past couple of years had become increasingly difficult for her to handle, but now, she has come somewhat to terms with his illness.
"It's been the most horrible experience I have ever had up until recently," Quinn said. "And he's still at home, I still have him sleeping in the bed with me, and I will until the end."
"But a certain peace has come over me, and I've had this feeling of serenity because what I thought was going to be horrible, the caretaking part of it, has really become something almost sacred about it," she said. "And that's not drivel. I didn't expect that. I just expected I would be having a nervous breakdown and it would be too horrible. I don't think we have been as loving with each other as we are now."
Quinn is writing a memoir of her life with Bradlee for HarperOne.