Davina McCall marked World Alzheimer’s Day on Tuesday with a heartfelt Instagram post which detailed her dad Andrew’s struggle with the neurological disorder.
The sweet snap showed the 76-year-old ‘total legend’ alongside her beaming step-mum Gaby, who cared for her husband before admitting him to a care home.
‘This is my Mum and Dad .. Dad ( Andrew … total legend ) has Alzheimer’s,’ the TV presenter, 53, began.
‘Total legend’: Davina McCall marked World Alzheimer’s Day on Tuesday with a heartfelt Instagram post which detailed her dad Andrew’s struggle with the neurological disorder
‘My mum has cared for him so brilliantly. He is now in a wonderful home, where they take amazing care of him. It’s been hard on my mum but she was at breaking point.
‘He is ok, but it is f****** heartbreaking this illness. The worst thing is the loss of dignity… there are great inroads being made into new treatments …
‘I heard of great hope of a new one in Australia very recently. 2/3 rds of Alzheimer’s patients are women … taking HRT is known to reduce your risk of getting it,’ she claimed.
Cute: The sweet snap showed Andrew alongside her beaming step-mum Gaby, who cared for her husband before admitting him to a care home
Opening up: ‘My mum has cared for him so brilliantly. He is now in a wonderful home, where they take amazing care of him. It’s been hard on my mum but she was at breaking point,’ she said
HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is a treatment used to control common menopausal symptoms and can be obtained via a GP prescription.
‘If you know anyone with Alzheimer’s, @alzheimerssoc are so helpful, my heart goes out to anyone supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s or anyone that’s lost someone to this cruel illness.
‘And a heartfelt thank u to my my mum x you are the best Gabba ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ love u ❤️.’
Davina wished her father a happy birthday in November, where she took to Instagram to write his ‘soul is still shining through’ amid a ‘cruel’ Alzheimer’s battle.
Beloved: The TV presenter took to Instagram to share a snapshot of her beloved parent as she said his ‘soul is still shining through’ amid ‘cruel’ Alzheimer’s battle
Devoted: She wrote this caption to accompany the snap
Captioning an image of a bespectacled Andrew posing for the camera, she wrote: ‘Happy birthday Daddy!!!! Sorry I can’t be with you… but thank you for giving the Best Hugs! And always picking up the pieces when my world fell apart.’
She continued: ‘You have taught me so much… Alzheimers is a very cruel illness, but your soul is still shining through … love you so . And thank you mumma for taking such beautiful care of him and auntie Becca too ❤️ love you both x.’
Three years ago, Davina spoke emotionally about the tell-tale signs she picked up on which made her suspect her father had Alzheimer’s.
The former Big Brother host said the family started noticing Andrew, who was diagnosed aged 73, was showing subtle changes in his behaviour and personality.
Signs: Three years ago, Davina spoke emotionally about the tell-tale signs she picked up on which made her suspect her father had Alzheimer’s
They picked up on him repeating a story he had told only 15 minutes earlier and how he had forgot about events that happened in the previous few days.
Eventually, Andrew started struggling to find the words he wanted to say and to find everyday items around the home, as well as making odd remarks.
Davina said at the time: ‘My dad has always been my rock. He’s way smarter than me, funnier, stronger. I’ve always slightly hero-worshipped him.
‘So when he started saying funny things like, “I took the overland train” and “Call me when your work is less explosive”, it didn’t take us long to all come together and ask each other if we should be concerned.
‘The psychologist that first assessed him said that he could have been affected for a while – but he is so clever that he had come up with strategies. That’s my dad – see a problem, come up with a strategy.’
She continued: ‘My dad is very charming, everyone he meets falls in love with him. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed.
‘He still gives the best hugs and my kids adore him. Since he’s had Alzheimer’s, he has become calmer and kids respond very well to that.
‘I have grieved the loss of my old dad. But we are forging a new relationship, a different one – one where perhaps he might need me more. Our dynamic has changed, but he’s still my dad.’
Parents: Davina’s father Andrew was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year at the age of 73, while her late grandmother Pippy also battled dementia (both above)
HOW TO DETECT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills and the ability to perform simple tasks.
It is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia.
The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are age 65 and older
More than six million Americans have Alzheimer’s.
It is unknown what causes Alzheimer’s. Those who have the APOE gene are more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer’s.
Signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty remembering newly learned information
- Mood and behavioral changes
- Suspicion about family, friends and professional caregivers
- More serious memory loss
- Difficulty with speaking, swallowing and walking
Stages of Alzheimer’s:
- Mild Alzheimer’s (early-stage) – A person may be able to function independently but is having memory lapses
- Moderate Alzheimer’s (middle-stage) – Typically the longest stage, the person may confuse words, get frustrated or angry, or have sudden behavioral changes
- Severe Alzheimer’s disease (late-stage) – In the final stage, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation and, eventually, control movement