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Jay Leno’s wife, Mavis Leno, has been experiencing a decline in health following a diagnosis of advanced dementia, according to a court filing by her court-appointed counsel. She sometimes does not recognize her husband and has a lot of disorientation. Dr. Hart Cohen, her neurologist, has been treating her since a car accident in 2018. Jay Leno has waited to bring this matter to light out of respect for his wife, who he loves very much. The petition for conservatorship is being sought to protect Mavis Leno and preserve her dignity.

The new information about Mavis Leno’s health comes three months after Jay Leno filed for conservatorship over her estate, stating that she is substantially unable to manage her financial resources. The court documents included a capacity declaration indicating that she suffers from dementia. Jay Leno wishes to create an estate plan that his wife would execute if she had the capacity to do so, including a trust to hold their community property and provide for her brother as her sole living heir. Throughout their over four-decade marriage, Jay Leno has handled both of their finances.

Jay Leno’s own health has been in the headlines in recent years due to burns from a garage fire and injuries from a motorcycle accident. He has not publicly disclosed details about his wife’s type of dementia, but he mentioned in his petition that she has been progressively losing capacity for some time. A hearing for the proposed conservatorship was scheduled for April 9, with Mavis Leno being able but unwilling to attend. She does not contest the establishment of conservatorship, does not object to her husband as conservator, and does not prefer another person for the role.

Dementia is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. In 2014, there were an estimated 5 million adults over 65 with dementia. Early-onset dementia can occur before the age of 65 in 5-6 percent of cases. Symptoms of dementia include struggles with attention, communication, memory, reasoning, and visual perception. Risk factors for dementia include age, genetics, and lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and smoking.

Dementia is caused by diseases that damage brain cells, impairing their ability to communicate. This communication disruption leads to changes in behavior, communication, feelings, and thoughts. Risk factors for early-onset dementia include depression, diabetes, heart disease, social isolation, and vitamin D deficiency. Research has shown that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and non-smoking can help decrease the risk of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association emphasizes the importance of understanding dementia symptoms, risk factors, and available treatments to support individuals and their families facing this challenging condition.

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