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Miriam Margolyes talks in support of Alzheimer’s Society

Miriam Margolyes OBE pictured with her father Joseph

Lifestyle

Miriam Margolyes talks in support of Alzheimer’s Society

“Life is sweeter shared”: Miriam Margolyes discusses love, commitment, and her father’s Alzheimer’s…

TV personality Miriam Margolyes OBE has opened up about her late father Joseph’s battle with dementia in support of Alzheimer’s Society. Miriam shared details of her father’s experience to highlight a series of adverts featuring couples affected by dementia who have vowed to stay together in ‘sickness and in health’. An emotional TV ad, narrated by actor Colin Firth, shows how dementia can change the dynamics of a relationship.

She said: “For richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health…we make those vows full of strength and power and happiness and desire. But the years take their toll. Things change. Health, when it leaves you, impacts a relationship completely.”

Speaking emotionally, Miriam shared the memory of when her father began showing symptoms of dementia. “When my father developed his symptoms in his early 90s, I had a feeling that something was wrong, but I tried to push it away.

“It was only when neighbours phoned me and said Daddy was on their doorstep saying that they were in his house, that I realised he couldn’t be left on his own anymore and that Alzheimer’s – I didn’t know what it was then – but the illness that had taken hold of him had a vice-like grip, and my father was no longer the man I knew. It was utterly devastating.

“Every now and again I had glimpses of the Daddy who had looked after me and had been my support and my rock. But very little; he became more and more of a shell and a husk. It wasn’t fair because he was a good, kind, loving man and he just seemed to disappear in front of my eyes. I couldn’t deal with it – I didn’t know what to do or who to ask.”

Discussing the effects of dementia on a relationship, Miriam added: “Unfortunately as you get older and when illness strikes, the whole basis of your relationship changes. Dependency changes, expectation changes, capacity changes.

“The person that you fell in love with and longed to be with when you began your love affair, then at the end of your lives, there is a stark realisation that things have changed utterly and forever. I have been with my partner for 54 years and I hope we will be until we are both corpses!”, Miriam added.

“I think it is just joyous to know someone that well, to trust someone that much and to know that you are loved. Life is sweeter shared.”

Kate Lee, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We’re so grateful to supporters like Miriam for sharing their personal stories about dementia to raise awareness of this devastating condition. One in three people born in the UK today will develop dementia and it’s the UK’s biggest killer. Through our Ultimate Vow campaign, we want everyone to know that Alzheimer’s Society is here to provide help and hope. But we can’t do it without support. Please donate today at alzheimers.org.uk so we can reach even more people affected by dementia.”

A third of us will develop dementia in our lifetimes. Alzheimer’s Society vows to help end the devastation caused by dementia. Visit alzheimers.org.uk for more information or to donate.

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