Entertainment

Saturday 17 August 2019

Shobna Gulati: The stigma around dementia must end

The actress wrote a blog for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Shobna Gulati (Ian West/PA)
Shobna Gulati (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Ex-Coronation Street star Shobna Gulati has called for an end to the stigma around dementia.

The actress, best known for her role as Sunita Alahan in the soap, helps care for her mother, who is suffering from the disease, and wrote about her experiences in a blog for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Gulati, 52, said her mother was “the matriarch of the family and the community” and that “when I had to choose a plus-one for red carpet events, it would always be Mum”.

“The first signs that something was wrong was when Mum’s normal character seemed to dial up a few notches. At first, our arguments would seem different, lasting for days rather than hours. I’d anguish over what I’d done so wrong to upset her,” she said.

“She’d get confused when out in the car, even though she’d lived in the area her whole life.

To this day, she's struggled to accept her diagnosis Shobna Gulati

“I vividly remember one day Mum came to pick me up from the set of Coronation Street, which she knew so well. But she got lost for two hours trying to find me”.

Gulati, who wants more open discussion of the condition in South Asian communities, said her mother “covered the cracks for about three years” before her diagnosis of vascular dementia.

“There is so much stigma about dementia, particularly in South Asian communities. This weighs strongly on Mum and, to this day, she’s struggled to accept her diagnosis,” said the actress, who also appeared in Dinnerladies.

“That’s where things need to change for future generations.”

Shobna Gulati’s post is at dementiablog.org.

PA Media

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