Olivia: I had to hold back tears making dementia film

The Oscar-winning actress is helping Alzheimer’s Research UK show how the condition robs people of a “happily ever after”.

Olivia, 49, voiced animated short Change The Ending which shows how the illness can leave people frightened and have a huge impact on relatives.

She said: “As soon as I heard about the concept behind Alzheimer’s Research UK’s campaign, I wanted to be involved and support their search for a cure. Dementia devastates lives and wreaks havoc on far too many families across the UK and around the world. My mum was a nurse for 45 years and, as a young girl, I got to meet some of the people she cared for who were living with dementia.”

Olivia – who played the daughter of a man (Sir Anthony Hopkins) with dementia who refuses assistance in 2020 film The Father – continued:
“It was so upsetting to see how the condition had robbed people of their independence, and the impact it had on their loved ones.

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“My great-grandmother died with the condition and other loved ones close to my family also succumbed to it, so it’s had a direct impact.

“The work Alzheimer’s Research UK does is so important, and I was proud to lend my voice to this campaign – it lays bare the realities of dementia in such a powerful and thought-provoking way.

“I was holding back tears narrating the film as dementia destroys people’s ‘happily ever afters’, and we must do everything we can to end the pain and distress it causes.

“I’d urge everyone to join me and get behind Alzheimer’s Research UK to help drive them towards a cure.” A YouGov survey of 2,162 people, commissioned by the charity for the campaign, found only 49% could name memory loss as an effect of dementia.

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Some 22% said they had no idea how the condition impacts people.

Just over one in 10 (12%) said dementia causes people to lose their independence and one in five knew it causes trouble with doing daily tasks.

Almost one million people in the UK live with dementia, which can also cause memory loss, personality changes, loss of ability to communicate, hallucinations and incontinence.

People living with it may also need support to do everyday tasks such as eating, washing and dressing. Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Our new film features a story we urgently need to tell because this is the distressing reality for many people living with dementia today. Tragically, it will be the reality for many more if we don’t act now.

“Too many people are unaware of how dementia destroys lives.

“By putting a spotlight on the devastation this condition causes, we hope to ignite support for the vital research that will change the ending for everyone affected by dementia. There is still much more work needed to save people from dementia.”

● See the film at alzres.uk/foracure

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