Watch: Ed Balls opens up on caring for mother with dementia
The Good Morning Britain host was interviewing Shameless star Anne-Marie Duff — whose 54-year-old brother Eddy was diagnosed with dementia in his early 40s — when he opened up about his own experience of caring for his mother.
Balls, 56, said: "My mum's had dementia now for almost 20 years. The problem is that none of us have any experience, whether it's a husband or wife or son or daughter, we don't know how to deal with this, because most of us have never come across it in our lives before.
"It is bewildering and it's so hard to find where to go to ask."
He went on: "Almost everybody handling a loved one with dementia gets it wrong — say the wrong thing, make the wrong decision in a crisis. And that is okay, and then you get better at it.
"But it's quite important to have that helpline to reassure people that it's okay to make mistakes."
The former Labour MP's mother Carolyn, 83, was diagnosed with dementia in her 60s and has lived in a specialist care home for four years.
Duff, 52, said: "I will give a massive shout out for the Alzheimer's Society, because they aren't just a charity that are keen on funding research and all of the clinical stuff, they're actually on the end of the phone.
"And I can honestly say you just give them a call. And even just the silly wee stuff from I can't get my mum or husband or whoever to take their meds - they will give you little bits of advice. Or be there if you just need a good cry."
The Bad Sisters star added: "There are days which are beautiful and then there are days that are heartbreaking. There'll be a day where he won't know who I am but he knows I love him."