LOVE Island star Greg O’Shea has opened up about losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s.
The Limerick native had to leave the villa back in 2019 to fly home to attend her funeral.
Greg told how the illness progressed very rapidly once she was diagnosed.
He said: “There’s probably no family in Ireland really that hasn’t been touched by Alzheimer’s in some shape or form.
“My own grandmother had Alzheimer’s dementia and it came on really really quickly.
“It was Christmas time before the summer I went to Love Island that we noticed that she just wasn’t as with it as she usually would be.
“She’s a really strong independent woman and there was just a little delay here and there where she might forget your face. We kind of realised then.
“She lived by herself all the way up until she passed away so she kept fighting it.
“She was a strong woman. It just kind of gets their mentality and it’s quite sad to see but sure, that’s just the way it happens.”
Speaking on tonight’s Six O’Clock Show with hosts Muireann O’Connell and Ray Foley, Greg was helping to raise money for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland as part of Donate for Dementia week on Virgin Media TV.
He revealed his grandmother suffered a stroke which accelerated the effects of Alzheimer’s.
‘HARD TO THINK ABOUT’
He said: “What happened was, she had a stroke which just kind of accelerated it [something] crazy.
“She lost the use of her mouth and it’s hard to think about it now because she just went from such a strong independent woman to needing a lot of care.
“Then when the stroke happened, we sent her to the Nenagh Hospital where they took great care of her and then she got a bit worse again.
“So we sent her to Talbot in Malahide up here in Dublin and there was 24 hour just until she passed away.”
The rugby fanatic fondly recalled what she was like before Alzheimer’s effected his grandmother and admitted she would’ve been so proud of his achievements.
He said: “She was so strong, she was really independent. As I said she lived by herself all the way up until her death.
“She used to take care of me and my sisters and she was just a really tough woman.
“A really strict woman but she just loved the family.
‘DETERIORATED VERY QUICKLY’
“She would’ve loved the fact I went on Love Island and that I had a radio gig, that I did the Six O’Clock Show at one stage and I was on the Late Late Show.
“She loved her TV like any Irish granny, it was just unfortunate that dementia got her and she just deteriorated very quickly.”
But Greg’s family rallied to ensure his grandmother was able to live independently.
He said: “But family kind of got around her and allowed her to live by herself and someone would call over every day for a cup, to make sure she was aright and my mother really took good care of her.
“There’s around 60,000 people in Ireland with Alzheimer’s and we’ve just got to look out for them more.”
The reality star takes comfort in thinking that his grandmother might’ve heard his voice on TV before she passed away.
He said: “I remember I was told that when I was in Love Island the night she was passing away, the nurses put on Love Island in the background.
“She was obviously lying down and wasn’t with it but she might’ve heard my voice in the background, which is a really nice thought on the night that she passed away.”
Go to www.donatefordementia.ie or ring (01) 5541680 to donate to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.