Angela Rippon opened up about her work with the Alzheimer’s Society at an event in Stokenchurch this week.

The broadcaster and journalist spent the morning at the Chiltern Grange Care Home in Ibstone Road on November 12.

Angela, who is ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, spoke of her experiences of caring for her mother Edna, who was diagnosed with frontal lobe vascular dementia in 2004 and passed away in 2009.

She told of how her mother was a happy, social person who liked to help out elderly people by delivering her own version of meals on wheels. But that began to change after her husband, Angela’s father, died.

“Within about a year, all of that fell away. Someone who had always been so independent suddenly became dependent. She became agoraphobic, unpleasant and vicious, we would have terrible rows. It never occurred to me that there might be something medically wrong with her, this just wasn’t natural.”

“In 2004, I admit I was ignorant about dementia, it wasn’t something that people talked about.”

Angela gave advice to carers, telling them to remain calm and relaxed when dealing with repeated questions and outbursts of anger from dementia sufferers.

She also spoke about the work she was doing with the Alzheimer’s Society, co-chairing the Dementia Friendly Communities Champions Group, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with dementia.

With one in three people over the age of 65 dying with dementia, Angela is campaigning to create dementia friendly communities across the country, which will allow people suffering with the disease and their carers to feel included in their community.

The group are working with companies, museums, banks and the emergency services to come up with solutions to make life more bearable for sufferers. This will include things like easy access bank accounts and ways to protect dementia sufferers from causing themselves harm in their home as well as creating training videos to teach staff how to deal with difficult situations.

Sean Kime, Commercial Manager of Porthaven Care Homes, the company that runs Chiltern Grange, believes these events are important to educate people on how to deal with dementia: “It’s really important that people know as much as possible about living with dementia because it is not pleasant and as our population gets older, it will become more of an issue. It’s great to hear Angela share her personal experiences, because she has firsthand knowledge of caring for someone with the disease.”

Chiltern Grange has 25 rooms dedicated for people living with dementia.

Sean said: “The idea is that if you know someone with dementia, come along to these events and listen and have a look round the home, so you can know where to turn for advice if you ever need it.”