Model Joanna Cooper is opening up about her mother Terri’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.
Terri was diagnosed with the condition in 2021, and Joanna recently shared the news with fans.
Explaining how her family discovered Terri’s diagnosis, Joanna spoke to Louise McSharry on the Catch Up podcast.
Revealing: “She got breast cancer when she was 58 or 59 and it was after that, after treatment and everything, we just started to notice more and more that there was definitely something going on.”
“It’s really hard to diagnose when they’re young. Even when she was exhibiting signs it was so difficult getting a diagnosis. My poor dad all over lockdown it was the two of them in the house, just for him regardless of what we’re all seeing… They’re 40 years married and imagine watching the love of your life… That part is just so hard.”
Joanna shared how her family had to fight for a diagnosis.
Saying: “They were pushing and pushing to try and get a diagnosis and finally they did but with early on-set it can be quite rapid and aggressive.”
Her mother is now in a care facility, with the 29-year-old explaining: “It’s just the safest option for her. And that decision alone was such a huge thing obviously on all of us but especially on my dad. He had to be the one to be like okay it is time and it really was just like so quick.”
“At the minute, she’s so content, she’s so safe and happy in there and the carers are just amazing. She’d be a real tactile person, like she loves hugs and everything so watching the carers give her that as well as keep her safe and look after her is really nice. But also it’s really hard that that’s where she is and that’s where she’ll always be.”
The former Miss Ireland, also shared how her family have been supporting her mum and other families experience the impact of Alzheimer’s dieses.
Explaining the sweet gesture her brother organised at his wedding. “So my brother’s wedding was last November and he didn’t tell anyone and he did favors for Dementia UK. It was one of the first times that we had publicly done anything. I just thought it was so special and such a nice thing for him to do.”
“He didn’t tell anyone it was just on the table, so when he did that I was like that was so nice,” she said.
But her brother isn’t the only one showing his support, as Joanna has announced her partnership with The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland to raise awareness and funding for the condition. However, she debated long and hard about accepting the role, confessing she felt uncomfortable sharing her mother’s story, without her permission.
Explaining her hesitancy, she revealed: “When it comes to someone else’s mental health, you almost feel like you don’t have their consent to talk about what they’re going through because they can’t tell you.”
But after consulting her family, Joanna accepted the position.
Her first campaign with them, was to promote Denim Day, which raises awareness and money for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
Explaining why Denim Day is so important, Joanna highlighted: “This is why fundraising campaigns like Denim Day for Dementia are vital; by signing up for a Denim Day pack on Alzheimer.ie, you’ll be helping The Alzheimer Society of Ireland continue their work in raising much-needed funds and awareness for people living with dementia.”
“Let’s all get out there on Friday, March 3rd and wear our denims to support this worthy cause.”
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