Footballer Gordon Banks and Sir Michael Parkinson reveal dementia heartbreak

 

 

Former England footballer Gordon Banks and Sir Michael Parkinson have relived their heartbreaking personal experiences with dementia to inspire the nation to reduce the stigma about the condition.

The pair, alongside broadcaster Fiona Phillips, are also encouraging people who think they have any symptoms of the condition to seek medical advice.

New research from Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) found that a quarter of people hide their diagnosis because of negative connotations surrounding dementia.

Phillips, whose parents both had dementia, said if her mother had been diagnosed earlier then she could have handled the situation better.

"I would have been able to plan more for mum instead of doing everything in a big rush," she said.

"Our house always smelt of baking when we were little and I used to love helping mum make cakes and there were always cakes in the tin.

"She rung me up at 3am one morning crying her eyes out and she said: 'I've forgotten how to make cakes'. And my childhood went then."

Sir Michael said: "The ultimate problem you have to face with anyone who has any form of dementia is that you lose them before they die.

"I lost my mother 18 months to a year before she died and that is the ultimate desperate tragedy."

Banks, whose brother David suffered from the condition, recalled: "We sat in the lounge talking to him and we would ask him a question and he would just go blank - he wouldn't answer it - he couldn't remember what we were discussing."

The trio have joined a government campaign to increase early diagnosis rates for dementia.

The new campaign, which is part of Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to help change people's understanding of dementia, has been launched today on World Alzheimer's Day.

Ministers hope it will raise awareness of the condition, what initial signs and symptoms look like and how to seek help.

Mr Cameron said: "Dementia is a devastating disease that puts enormous strain on people and their families.

"Shockingly, nearly 400,000 people are unaware that they have the condition and so we want to make sure more people know what dementia is and how to spot those tell-tale signs.

"With the number of sufferers set to rise in the years ahead, I am determined that we go much further and faster on dementia.

"That's why I launched a Challenge on Dementia in March, doubling the research budget and working across society to improve health and care, and supporting people to live well with the condition."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: "Our goal is to make this country a world leader in tackling the challenge of dementia.

"That requires us all to play our part, including being brave enough to start conversations about dementia to get our loved ones the early help we know makes a difference.

"Awareness is just the first step towards tackling the stigma around this condition and we need to work together if we're going to help those living with dementia have a better quality of life."

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Talking to a loved one about dementia will probably be one of the most difficult conversations you ever have, but it will be worth it.

"Early diagnosis is crucial in helping people with dementia to access the support and help they need to live well with the condition."

Research, released today by the ADI, also found that three quarters of people and 64% of carers believe that there are negative associations for those diagnosed with dementia.

The report, based on a survey of 2,500 sufferers and carers from 50 countries, also found that two-fifths of people say they have been avoided or treated differently because they have dementia.

Marc Wortmann, executive director at ADI, added: "Dementia and Alzheimer's disease continue to grow at a rapid rate due to global ageing.

"The disease has a huge impact on the families that are hit, but also affects health and social systems because of the economic cost.

"Countries are not prepared and will continue not to be prepared unless we overcome the stigma and enhance efforts to provide better care for those who have dementia and find a cure for the future."

Initial signs of dementia, which is caused by diseases of the brain, may include short term memory loss that affects every day life, problems with thinking or reasoning or unexplained anxiety or depression.

The UK's dementia research charity has also pledged to give £5.5 million to fund scientists researching the condition.

Alzheimer's Research UK said the money will go towards 52 new grants aimed at understanding the causes of dementia, improving diagnosis and finding new treatments and preventions.

PA

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
News
people
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living