Article 166 out of 1749
Writer and comedian David Baddiel has become Alzheimer’s Society’s newest ambassador in the charity’s fight against dementia.
Mr Baddiel, whose father has a rare form on dementia known as Pick’s disease, is already a fervent supporter of Alzheimer’s Society, having raised thousands of pounds from his tour My Family: Not the Sitcom.
He said: “I’m delighted to be joining forces with Alzheimer’s Society to continue this conversation, and to encourage people to unite against dementia so no-one has to face the condition alone.”
Along with his tour, Mr Baddiel’s recent Channel 4 documentary, The Trouble with Dad, has helped to raise awareness of the impact and realities of having a parent with dementia.
The documentary, shot over the course of a year, shines a light on David Baddiel and his brother’s experience of caring for their father, whose dementia affects personality and behaviour.
He experiences “uncontrollable swearing, inappropriate behaviours and extreme impatience,” which Mr Baddiel says was always “something about him” but now “with the dementia, that’s all he is.”
By talking so openly and frankly about his family’s experiences, Mr Baddiel has been able to both help himself come to terms with his situation and reach out to others going through a similar experience.
“As a comedian, I’ve always been interested in talking about, and finding the comedy in, subjects that we as a society perhaps don’t talk about - and quarantine off from laughter,” he said.
“When my dad developed dementia, a lesser known form called Pick’s Disease, I realised that sometimes dementia is one of those subjects: it comes with a silence around it.
“I prefer to resist this, and talk about it, through comedy, which is the best way I know how - not least to deal with my own sadness and anxieties.
“But in so doing, I’ve found that many, many people in the same situation, who have relatives with dementia, can find common ground. Both in terms of their own situation and in terms of raising a more general awareness of what dementia is, and how it affects every person differently.”
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, highlighted the importance of raising awareness of “the realities of dementia as society’s biggest health issue” and spoke of the charity’s pride to have Mr Baddiel as its latest ambassador.
He said: “We’re honoured to welcome David as an Alzheimer’s Society’s Ambassador. David has been vocal about his Dad’s experience of Pick’s disease and is helping to tackle the stigma that still surrounds dementia, bringing his unique comedic style to the fore when discussing the condition and talking about issues that many are still too afraid to talk about.
“We are incredibly grateful to all our Ambassadors like David who continually strive to improve the lives of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them.”