Jill Gascoine opens up about Alzheimer's diagnosis

Jill Gascoine opens up about Alzheimer's diagnosis

Actress Jill Gascoine has spoken publicly for the first time about her Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

Gascoine, who played British TV's first ever female detective, Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes, in hit 1980s series The Gentle Touch, revealed her battle with the condition at a fundraising gala for the Alzheimer's Association in Beverly Hills, California in March.

The 76 year old was presented with an award at the glitzy event and was introduced on stage by her longtime friend and fellow actress Millicent Martin. Speaking as she accepted the accolade, Gascoine said, "It's been so dreadful, this thing, that I decided I was going to stand up and say, 'Well, it's going to happen so get on with it.' I can't think of anything else to say."

Gascoine was diagnosed with the devastating condition, which causes severe memory loss and confusion, 18 months ago but she and husband Alfred Molina decided to keep the news private until recently.

A friend of the couple tells the Daily Mirror, "Jill and Alfred started telling friends about it a year ago. It's not something that has come on suddenly. Jill was aware there was a problem with her memory as far back as three or four years ago but it was only in the past 18 months that she was officially diagnosed.

"Her memory loss became more significant and so they informed close friends because it was becoming obvious. Jill hadn't felt like going public with the news until recently. She hopes it will help raise awareness of dementia and the toll it can take on family members."

The Spider-Man 2 star wed Gascoine in London in 1986.