Actress Describes Burden Of Mother's Dementia

Actress Describes Burden Of Mother's Dementia

Actress Phyllida Law, mother of Oscar-winner Emma Thompson, has described how looking after a mother with dementia left her feeling isolated.

The 83-year-old, who appeared in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, looked after her mother Meg for several years while she had the disease.

She spoke as Alzheimer's Research UK released a report on the impact of dementia on the people who care for sufferers.

The charity estimates there are 700,000 people in the UK who act as primary carers for those with dementia. 

More than a fifth donate up work or reduce their hours & one third have no access to respite care, the Alzheimer's Society said.

Law, who has moreover won an Olivier Award, said she felt under strain while caring for her mother as the degenerative disease took hold.

She said: "The night time was particularly difficult: at dusk my mother would often think she was in the wrong house, or she would call for breakfast in the middle of the night, not knowing what time it was.

"When you're worn out because you haven't slept, you can be in danger of losing your temper, & that's very hard.

"I wasn't as isolated as some people, & I was lucky because I had assist from the people in my mother's village & from my two daughters, who moreover helped me financially.

"But caring for ma, you couldn't leave the house without taking her with you, so you did feel very stuck a lot of the time."

Alzheimer's Research UK's report, Dementia in the Family: The Impact On Carers, comes after a study by the International Longevity Centre found that the UK is heading for the bottom of the OECD league table for spending on care.

Meanwhile, a poll carried out by Alzheimer's Research UK found that nearly a third (31%) of non-retired people aged 55 & over are worried that family members will have to care for them in after life.

The report revealed how those looking after family members with dementia can become socially isolated & can find it difficult to cope.

The charity said that much work is still needed into dementia yet if the onset of the disease could be delayed by five years, the number of carers needed by 2050 would be cut by a third.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "For many people the festive season is a time to think approximately family, yet for countless families across the UK dementia is taking a heavy toll, leaving people socially isolated & struggling financially.

"The experiences highlighted in this report will be recognised by people up & down the country who are dealing with the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia."

Source: “Sky News”