Far from the Madding Crowd Actress Carey Mulligan has spoken of how important it is to keep visiting relatives with dementia, even if they no longer recognise who you are. Miss Mulligan, who is an Alzheimer’s Society ambassador, gave an emotional account of her relationship with her grandmother, who was diagnosed with the disease a number of years ago.
She said that even thought her Nans had not recognised herself or her mother for years, she found that their visits still had a calming effect on her. The actress said that just because dementia led to people becoming confused or not remembering their loved ones, that did not mean they did not appreciate being visited.
Someone who loves you
The 31 year old said that people had pointed out to her that it would not matter whether she visited or not as she didn’t recognise her nearest and dearest. But Miss Mulligan added: “Every visit for the last seven years, she hasn’t recognised any of us. But when we have a good visit – and they’re not always good – when we leave, she won’t remember that we’ve been there but the sensation of being in the company of someone who loves you is something we can’t deny.”
She said that offering calmness and companionship was fundamental, whatever stage a person’s dementia was at. She spoke out as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the disease. While Miss Mulligan, who is married to musician Marcus Mumford, of Mumford & Sons, said she liked to keep her person life private, she said she felt it was important to speak for charities. Previously, she had explained that her grandmother’s disease began 15 years ago with a bit of forgetfulness, and had progressed steadily over the years.
She has been joined in the awareness campaign by chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson, whose late mother had dementia, and by Michael Palin, whose Monty Python co-star Terry Jones, has been diagnosed with the disease.