Oscar-winning star Carey Mulligan has spoken about her hopes that society’s misconceptions about dementia will be corrected by a better understanding of the condition.

The 30 year old actress, who is married to Mumford & Sons’ frontman Marcus Mumford, wrote a moving opinion piece in her role as global ambassador for the charity Alzheimer’s Society, and also spoke on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme of how she has sought to maintain a relationship with her beloved grandmother, who has suffered from the incurable disease for 12 years.

“I’ve certainly had it in my experience that people with my grandmother have gone ‘well she doesn’t know me. It doesn’t matter that I don’t visit because she doesn’t know me’,” she said on Tuesday (December 27th). “Every visit for the last seven years, she hasn’t recognised any of us.”

Carey MulliganCarey Mulligan is the global ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society charity

Despite this, the star of Drive and The Great Gatsby says that visits are beneficial for dementia sufferers, citing her own experience with her grandmother Margaret, known to her family as ‘Nans’.

Her separate op-ed piece, which can be read via the BBC, reads: “Nans and I have always been extremely close and she is the single most influential person in my life aside from my parents. But a lot has changed in our relationship in the last 12 years. Nans was diagnosed with dementia in 2004 and from that moment our lives changed significantly.”

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“But when we have a good visit – and they’re not always good – when we leave, she won’t remember that we’ve been there but the sensation of being in the company of someone who loves you is something we can’t deny.”

Even though a loved one or relative might not remember their closest family when the disease is advanced, Mulligan says that her and her mother’s visits with Nans nevertheless have a positive effect.

“There’s a calmness, there’s a companionship: these really fundamental feelings of being loved, being taken care of by people and family who really love you, I think that’s something that regardless of how progressed your dementia is stay with you. That’s a real argument for people going to visit loved one regardless of how far progressed their disease is.

“Too many common myths and misconceptions about dementia still exist. Time and again I hear reference to it as just being a natural part of ageing. And, unfortunately, it is often the butt of distasteful jokes. But dementia is a disease of the brain and it requires understanding, care and support.”

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