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Ex-EastEnders star shares mum's Alzheimer's battle

Ex-EastEnders star shares mum's Alzheimer's battle
18th August 2014

Former EastEnders star John Partridge has shared his experiences of caring for his mum, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011. 

John, who played Christian Clarke for four years, revealed that one of the reasons he left the popular soap was to become primary carer for his 77-year-old mother Bridget. 

Talking to the Daily Star Sunday, he said Alzheimer's is a disease that is hard for both the patient and their families to cope with. 

"You know your loved one is eventually going to forget who you are," he stated. "It's something that constantly distresses my mum. It's something that breaks her heart. As it breaks mine."

The actor said he is now only taking on part-time projects to ensure he has enough time to be with his mother. 

Alzheimer's is the leading cause of dementia, with Alzheimer's Society figures claiming there are 496,000 people battling the disease in the UK. 

There is currently no cure for the condition, which occurs when protein plaques develop in the brain and kill brain cells. Common symptoms include mood swings, problems with memory and increasing confusion. 

No single cause has been discovered for the disease, although age, genetic and environmental factors are all thought to contribute. 

According to John, one of the worst outcomes of Alzheimer's is seeing the person you once knew disappear as the disease begins to progress. 

"You know you have to say goodbye to that person at some point. Although she's still my mum, she's a different mum now," he stated. 

He added how individuals with condition didn't simply forget people or places, but they also couldn't remember how to do basic tasks such as swallowing. 

Eventually, people with the degenerative condition are likely to require help with all of their day-to-day activities. However, John said he is happy to be at his mum's side, as it gives them as much quality time together as possible. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.