Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones has opened up about her own experience with dementia, in support of the Alzheimer's Society's annual Cupcake Day.
Teaming up with the dementia charity, the actress recently spent the day baking cupcakes with a man called Paul Hoskins, who is just 59, and was diagnosed with Pick’s disease, a rare form of dementia.
She revealed that the experience of speaking to someone who had been diagnosed with early onset dementia (read this touching book to learn more about the condition) was particularly moving, given that her own mother got the disease when she too was only in her 50s.
Suranne said, “I was really grateful to Paul for opening up about his dementia and baking together really allowed us to talk and reflect on the condition that has affected both of our lives.
“My mum was diagnosed at quite a young age, in her late fifties, and her dementia accelerated quite fast. I was keen to hear about Paul’s own experiences of the disease.”
Suranne’s mother passed away just two and a half years ago.
And the 40-year-old actress also explained that it was moving to hear how Paul’s experience appeared to resonate with symptoms her late mother went through.
“Hearing how Paul is going through some of the same things that my mum faced was really touching.” she said. “He explained how day to day activities like getting dressed have become challenging for him.”
Suranne also reiterated how valuable the experience was to highlight that dementia doesn’t only affect much older people – but younger people too.
She said, “Sometimes when you talk about dementia, people imagine it’s a term that only refers to old people.
“It’s important to highlight the experiences of people like Paul, who is only in his fifties and really sprightly. As my mum was a similar age when she was diagnosed, it was enlightening to meet someone who was going through a similar experience to hers, with such optimism and strength.”
The Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day takes place on 13th June, and the charity is encouraging people from across the UK to unite against dementia by baking or buying cupcakes to sell, to raise vital funds for research on the disease.
Will you be taking part?