Daily Life

Fiona Falkiner has always been refreshingly candid about her mother's heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer's

''It is such a cruel disease, robbing a person of their identity while family helplessly watch on.''

By Alana Mazzoni
With Alzheimer's affecting up to one in 10 Australians over 65, and up to three in 10 Australians over 85, chances are you have a loved one who has been touched by the disease in some way.
One such celebrity who has a very personal and touching experience with the progressive neurologic disorder is Biggest Loser alum Fiona Falkiner, whose mother Jill has endured a long battle with Alzheimer's.
The 39-year-old has always been candid about the devastating impacts Alzheimer's has had on her mother and their family.
Fiona Falkiner's mother Jill has endured a heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer's. (Image: Instagram)
In May 2021, Fiona revealed that Jill's condition had deteriorated so much that she was moved into an aged care facility.
"It is with a sad heart that I share my beautiful Mamma Bear has been moved into permanent residential aged care, with her Alzheimer's disease having progressed rapidly and forcing our family to make an incredibly tough decisions," Fiona wrote.
"It is such a cruel disease, robbing a person of their identity while family helplessly watch on and hold onto precious moments of the mind while they last.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of irreversible dementia, which causes gradual loss of memory, intellect, rational thought and social skills. Nearly seven out of 10 people with dementia have the Alzheimer's type.
Fortunately, Fiona's father Peter has been by his wife's side every step of the way.
Jill was moved into permanent residential aged care in 2021. (Image: Instagram)
"Dad has done such an incredible job caring for her through to now, often reminding us she is the love of his life and that we marry in sickness and in health," Fiona penned.
Back in January 2021, Fiona revealed that her mother gets joy out of life's simple pleasures such as dancing and singing.
The mother-of-one shared a clip of Jill and her fiancee Hayley laughing while they danced together in front of the TV.
"My mum has Alzheimer's she gets so much joy out of dancing and singing," she captioned her clips.
"We had not seen mum in over a year and my beautiful fiancée @hayley__willis spent a lot of time with her over Christmas making her laugh and smile which is getting harder to do as this disease takes hold.
"One of the many reasons I love her just a reminder to hold your loved ones tight."
At the time, the model added that Jill had been struggling immensely during 2020's COVID lockdowns.
"This past year has not been good for her not being around people or family. She has deteriorated a lot but we are all lucky we got to spend Christmas with her," she wrote.
Fiona during a visit with her mother in June 2022. (Image: Instagram)
In June 2022, a heavily pregnant Fiona shared a tear-jerking post to Instagram revealing that she finally got to see her mother after quite some time apart.
"It's been a while since I was able to see her and it hurt my heart to see how much her Alzheimer's has taken hold," she said.
Fiona said her mother was over the moon to find out that she is expecting her second child with Hayley.
Fiona's father Peter has been by his wife's side every step of the way. (Image: Instagram)
"I told her she was going to be a grandmother again and showed her lots of videos of Hunter playing hide and seek which made her laugh," she shared.
"She is happy in her own little world and I can see she is where she needs to be in the care of some incredible people who I want to thank from the bottom of my heart.
"Alzheimer's is such a horrible disease my heart just aches because I feel like I missed out on saying goodbye to her."
  • undefined: Alana Mazzoni