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TX: 21.09.06 - Sir Cliff talks about dementia

PRESENTER: CAROLYN ATKINSON
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ATKINSON
Well finally today Sir Cliff Richard tells You and Yours that dealing with his mother's dementia is the hardest thing he's ever had to do. He's the centenary patron for Alzheimer's Disease International and to mark World Alzheimer's Day Sir Cliff is urging governments and the public to, as he puts it, sit up and realise the devastating effects it has on both people with it and their families worldwide. Well I've been speaking to Sir Cliff about his 86-year-old mother Dorothy, who now lives in a nursing home and doesn't recognise him and about why more research and awareness is crucial.

RICHARD
Hi, I'm Cliff Richard and of course you all know that this is World Alzheimer's Day.

Something like Alzheimer's hits really at the heart of a family, at the heart of relationships, it goes right in deep. Because of the way it is you know the person who suffers with Alzheimer's doesn't seem to change physically at first and yet there's this whole process of a loss of memory, loss of orientation, I mean, and it's really horrifying. My mother doesn't have Alzheimer's but she does have dementia, it's the same kind of destruction of the brain cells and she's living but what it does is it takes away the life, my mother doesn't have a life. And I've talked with my sisters and said - You know I personally feel as though I've already mourned my mum because the person that we have with us is not the vibrant woman that we all knew.

ATKINSON
Do you think her dementia is the hardest thing you've ever had to deal with?

RICHARD
I think so, on a personal level that's got to be the hardest thing and it's the same for my sisters too, to come to terms with the fact that this has happened to our mother and there was nothing we could have done to stop it. It's bearable but only just.

ATKINSON
And you can hear more of that interview with Sir Cliff Richard on tomorrow's You and Yours. Also you can get a CD of some of our recent reports on dementia which are available via the Alzheimer's Society, you can find out how to get one by going to our website or for that matter theirs.


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