Angela Ripon explores the truth about dementia for the BBC
Angela Ripon has a very personal perspective when it comes to discussing dementia.
Her mother, Edna, suffered from the condition for 5 years before her death aged 89 in 2009, and she now believes her father was also showing the early signs before he died suddenly of a heart attack in 2004.
She has never shied away from talking about her upset. "It's a disease whereby you watch someone gradually disintegrate and get replaced by someone else," she explains. "I had to learn to let go of the mother I once loved."
She still recalls with horror the moment she was asked in an interview if she embarrassed by her mother's dementia.
"It made me spit blood" she fumes. But that was nearly a decade ago when there wasn't as much awareness and recognition about dementia and Alzheimer's as there is today.
Since then, in her role as an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society she spends her time trying to remove the stigma surrounding the condition.
And now in her latest venture for the BBC to be aired on May 19th during Dementia Awareness Week, she sets out to reveal what the latest scientific research from around the world is revealing about dementia - of which the most common form is Alzheimer’s.
“I think it's important that we learn about some of the great research that is going on, and the tests that are available. I certainly hope that the film will challenge what many of us think we already knew about this terrible disease."
In 'The Truth about Dementia', Angela takes the very personal decision as to whether to take a genetic test that could predict her future risk, finds out about some of the surprising ways to protect ourselves, and visits a number of people living with the disease including Bob, the husband of one of her closest friends.
Craig Hunter, Commissioning Editor, says: “The fact that Angela is willing to look at dementia through such a personal prism is not only brave and honest, but it makes for an incredibly compelling and thought-provoking film. She brings a warmth and insight which only someone who has been so personally affected by the disease can share.”