Carey Mulligan supports bid to raise dementia awareness


Carey Mulligan tells the BBC's Adam Brimelow about her grandmother's Alzheimer's

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A poll has suggested more than four out of 10 people know - or have known - someone with dementia.

The Yougov survey indicates strong concern about dementia across all ages.

It suggests young adults are most likely to want to learn more about the condition.

The Oscar-nominated actress, Carey Mulligan, whose grandmother has Alzheimer's, has become an "ambassador" for the Alzheimer's Society to help promote awareness of the condition.

Carey's grandmother - who she calls Nans - was diagnosed with Alzheimer's eight years ago. The actress, who is now 26, spent many happy childhood holidays staying with her, and says they were very close.

'Inspirational support'

Witnessing her grandmother's confusion and distress as the disease took hold was painful for the whole family.

Carey says there is now almost no communication or recognition from "Nans", but that she still delights in music.

She says the "inspirational" support provided at her grandmother's care home in south Wales shows how people with dementia can be helped to live well.

"It's based on time, and remembering that those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they're all individuals and they're all unique. And they just need to be interacted with on a human level."

Start Quote

I've seen the amazing dignity of life, and an amazing love that people can have, and amazing generosity”

End Quote Carey Mulligan Alzheimer's Society Ambassador

The actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the film "An Education", will promote this message through her new role with the Alzheimer's Society.

She hopes to make a particular impact with younger people.

"Because they have their family members being affected they want to know more, they want to understand it and they want to find a way to cure it or find ways to prevent it, so there's just a lot more interest."

There is some evidence of this in the Yougov poll, commissioned by the Alzheimer's Society.

Over 4,200 people took part in the online poll, designed to be representative of all UK adults.

Of those, 44% said they knew or had known someone with dementia.

And 61% said they worried about themselves or someone they knew developing the disease, but overall only 16% wanted to know more about the condition.

Among 18-24 year-olds, 25% wanted to know more.

Reach "new audiences"

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, expressed concern over the poll's findings.

"Dementia is the biggest challenge facing the UK today so it's not surprising that people are so worried.

"There is currently no cure and people aren't getting the care they deserve. However we know that with the right support people can live well with the condition for a number of years."

He said Carey Mulligan's support would help the charity to reach new audiences and get people talking about the condition.

The Alzheimer's Society is running events across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, during Dementia Awareness Week.

Carey Mulligan says she still goes with her mother to see "Nans" when she can. She says the dementia has caused her great sadness, but that the visits have sometimes been very positive.

"It's always so wonderful to see a glimpse of her, and have a moment where she responds or where you can see her really at peace or happy. I've seen the amazing dignity of life, and an amazing love that people can have, and amazing generosity."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Let's hope that the people making nasty comments on here never have to witness a loved one suffering from dementia. My grandmother is currently suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's. She is still fairly coherent at the moment but I dread the point probably sometime in the near future when she no longer remembers who we are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Social care is available to those who need it. Social services can assess needs and funding. There are many different levels of care, ranging from carers visiting a few times a day, to assisted living/ warden controlled accomodation, and residential/nursing homes. However access to social care needs to be better publicised, perhaps in GP practices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    My mum had dementia.
    At times she was very confused, at other times she really was with us again.
    Sadly it's part of life. You get old and you die of something.
    With three million+ unemployed we should be able to do more to help our Elderly members.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Although care for people with dementia is very important, practical help is even more important in the very early stages.

    Discuss memory with people over 50 and you'll find memory loss has already started - e.g. "where did I put my glasses?". It is my belief that if we can step in at this point and help people who otherwise seem 100% OK, the point at which serious problems set in can be put off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    This is a good first step, but there ought to be a push to recognise the needs of carers too. Carers are often the elderly wife/husband of the sufferer who very often are left to it with little or no support & no respite. There is a desperate need for respite services for over burdened, under paid & under appreciated carers.


Comments 5 of 6


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