We all know that dementia is one of the most harrowing illnesses, especially for those having to watch their loved ones slowly fade away.
Today EastEnders star Jo Joyner opened up in an interview with the Alzheimer’s Society about her own experience with the cruel condition and has revealed how she hopes to raise money for charity in honour of her gran Dorris she watched die almost 20 years ago.
“It’s such a cruel, cruel condition and it affects such a wide circle of loved ones and relatives.
“I think for those immediately close it’s the hardest to reconcile the loss and regression that happens in essentially someone who used to look after you.
“My grandad found it heartbreaking, literally.
“My mother was heartbroken too, and I learned a lot over those few years about the power of love and the strength you can muster for someone who gave you life.”
Jo, who is taking part in an upcoming Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk, said she remembered that the early signs of her grandmother’s condition included “forgetting names and leaving the gas cooker on”.
“Because I was young,” she said. “And I think in her head she was too, we met somewhere in the middle quite nicely for a time.
“For that period it was easier for me to dress her, or ascertain if she had an ache or pain.
“She often thought I was one of her favourite sisters, so she’d dance with me a lot. As a young drama student it wasn’t so hard for me to enter her world at times.”
Jo is hoping the money raised by her walk will mean a cure can be found for dementia.
“Less people are dying of cancer now, HIV no longer has to be the death sentence it was, so wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel the same about dementia in the future,” she said.
“Money means research, research means understanding and understanding and research lead to treatments, support and ultimately cures.
“So every penny we can make to support the services that help people currently, and that can help our wonderful scientists and specialists to understand the ocean that is our memory, is a step closer to a better future for every person who is diagnosed with dementia.”
The first Memory Walk takes place September 2-3. You can sign up for a walk here: www.memorywalk.org.uk