The mother of Oscar-winner Emma Thompson shares her experiences in the wake of a report by Alzheimer’s Research UK about the impact on carers of dementia.
Well-recognised and respected actress, Phyllida Law has spoken about the effect that caring for her mother had on her and her family, including her acting daughters Emma and Sophie Thompson.
The actress, who’s best known for her roles in Much Ado About Nothing and Rumpole of the Bailey, cared for her mother, Meg, for several years.
‘The night time was particularly difficult,’ says Phyllida. ‘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 have haven’t slept, you can be in danger of losing your temper, and that’s very hard.
‘I wasn’t as isolated as some people, and I was lucky because I had help from the people in my mother’s village and from my two daughters, who also 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 have launched a new report – Dementia in the Family: the Impact on Carers – highlighting the heavy toll that dementia takes on family carers. They also carried out a YouGov survey which found three in 10 non retired people aged 55 and over in the UK were concerned about whether their family would have to care for them in later life.
The report interviewed a range of carers to find out how dementia affected relationships within their family, including unwanted tensions, stress and isolation.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
‘For many people the festive season is a time to think about family, but for countless families across the UK dementia is taking a heavy toll, leaving people social isolated and struggling financially. The experiences highlighted in this report will be recognised by people up and down the country who are dealing with the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia.’
Watch the video with Phyllida below: