A Perthshire woman has put her name alongside high profile stars of stage and screen to call for the government to keep its promise on increasing funding for research into dementia.
She was diagnosed with her brain condition in 2015 and took part in a short film for Alzheimer’s Research UK highlighting how her and her husband Ronnie’s lives would be affected as the illness advanced.
Now the grandmother is one of over 43,000 people who have backed the petition from Alzheimer’s Research UK urging the government to keep its promise on research funding.
As an election pledge in 2019, the Westminster government pledged to double investment into dementia research to over £160 million a year.
But the dementia research funding was missed out of the budget statement earlier this month.
Olive said: “I’ve witnessed the heartbreak of dementia in my family as three aunts died with Alzheimer’s disease and a cousin is now living in a nursing home.
“Dementia reduced them to a fraction of themselves. So being diagnosed with dementia myself was very upsetting.
“I’m fortunate that I’m still currently able to live life to the full. I’m able to cope with my symptoms and they don’t impact me too much.
“I mostly have problems with mental arithmetic and occasionally forgetting words. I also have some memory problems, forgetting the little day-to-day things.
“But I don’t know what the future will hold. I don’t know how quickly things will get worse and there are currently no treatments to stop or slow dementia.
“That’s why I’m urging people to sign Alzheimer’s Research UK’s petition, calling on government to deliver on its election promise to double funding for dementia research.
Olive is joined in her petition action by Dame Julie Walters, who has become the latest star to support the petition. Dame Julie’s grandmother died with vascular dementia. Other high profile people to make a stand include Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, Brian Cox, Dame Harriet Walter and Luke Evans.
Alzheimer’s Research UK says the funding is needed now more than ever before, following the colossal impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia.
One in four people who have died with COVID-19 in England, Wales and Scotland also had dementia, while social distancing measures have been particularly challenging for people with dementia and their loved ones.
At the same time, the virus has threatened progress in research, with studies delayed and pioneering researchers being forced to consider leaving the field.
Dame Julie Walters said:”My grandmother had vascular dementia and she lived with us when we were kids.
“We didn’t really understand her symptoms, but we all loved her to bits. I still don’t know how my mother coped having to care for her and look after three young children.
“It’s appalling that over half of us know someone affected by dementia, yet there are no treatments to slow, stop or prevent it.”
The link to the petition is: alzres.uk/sign-our-petition