PLANTATION (CBS4) – Former South Florida radio legend Neil Rogers is facing serious, declining health issues and is requesting privacy.
Rogers, 68, has been suffering from several health ailments recently, and friend and attorney Norman Kent issued as statement Sunday saying the radio host is battling progressive vascular dementia, a condition which leads to neurological symptoms.
Rogers suffered a stroke and heart attack in October and his condition has been declining since Thanksgiving. He underwent surgery earlier this month at Westside Regional Hospital to clear arterial blockages.
The surgery was high-risk because of other underlying conditions which include diabetes, Kent said.
“The complications associated with Neil’s diabetes and the corresponding stroke, have functionally impaired his cognitive abilities. He is not always aware of his circumstances and surroundings,” Kent said, adding that “Neil is also suffering presently from ‘Sundowners Syndrome,’ also known as sundowning. It is a symptom often associated with the early stages of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.”
People with Sundowners Syndrome, Kent said, suffer from an uncomfortable sleep and mood disorder which causes them to experience periods of extreme agitation and confusion during the late afternoon or early evening hours, leading to irritability towards even caregivers or hospital staff.
However, Rogers is seldom alone through this ordeal, Kent said.
“Neil is on a daily basis surrounded by his longest and most loyal intimate friends and acquaintances. He has 24 hour around the clock nursing care, and he has also, when lucid, been buoyed by multiple colleagues in the broadcast industry reaching out to him, stirring nostalgic remembrances of days that once were.”
Kent said these issues are being made public in order to call attention and to raise awareness of this disease that causes so much suffering.
Kent said “As you remember him, recall what he used to say- “It’s only a radio show”. Hopefully, in those hours on the air he taught all of us to press on in our daily lives with an abiding sense of wit and humor. Today, though, he is a patient in a hospice, asking that you respect his privacy and dignity. Visits and calls are no longer appropriate.”
The talk show host spent more than three decades on South Florida airwaves, starting at WJNO in Palm Beach. He has also been on WKAT, WNWS, WINZ, WIOD. He was most recently on AM 560 WQAM, before he retired in 2009.