Sian Welby shares fears of dad not knowing her in dementia film

The TV and radio presenter told her This Morning co-stars what it had been like watching her dad decline with 'the cruellest disease'.

Sian Welby shared her emotional story about her dad who is battling with dementia. (ITV screengrab)
Sian Welby shared her emotional story about her dad who is battling with dementia. (ITV screengrab)

What did you miss?

Sian Welby has shared her fears that her dad will no longer recognise her as his dementia progresses, calling it "the cruellest disease".

Capital FM star and regular This Morning contributor Welby joined her ITV daytime co-stars on Thursday to talk about a short film she had made for the programme showing the effects of dementia on her dad and the rest of her family.

Her co-star Josie Gibson announced that the show would be launching an awareness raising campaign about dementia after showing Welby's emotional film.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Sian Welby attends the Capital Summertime Ball 2023 at Wembley Stadium on June 11, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Sian Welby helped to launch a dementia campaign at This Morning. (Getty Images)

What, how, and why?

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Sian Welby attends the
Sian Welby spoke about her own family's experiences of dementia. (Getty Images)

Welby explained: "Before my dad got diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I didn’t have a clue about it. I knew it was a cruel disease and it was something as a family we had never had to deal with. My grandparents never had it so, it was totally new to me and we honestly didn’t know anything."

Radio and TV star Welby got emotional as she admitted how scared she was of the day when he would no longer recognise her, saying: "The devastating thing about Alzheimer's is how it’s one of the cruellest diseases because you’re losing their personality and will eventually become strangers. Even the thought of it. I could cry now…The thought of your own dad not knowing who you are is heart breaking."

She told co-stars Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle about her dad, saying he had always been full of practical skills and that it had been tough watching them ebbing away.

"Part of what I’ve tried to embrace is not missing the old version of him but trying to embrace this new version of him - I have to be a bit more patient with him," she said. "If you ask the right questions, he can carry on almost like normal. If it’s about short term memory things, he can’t answer that but if it’s about something 50 years ago, he’ll talk about it for 20 minutes. It’s a really confusing disease in a way, because sometimes you can forget he has it and sometimes it’s so obvious."

Welby added: "There is a lot of advice out there but it doesn’t appeal to everyone. My dad for example just wouldn’t sit and do a jigsaw puzzle, that just wasn’t him - he needed to feel like a dad again. He lost his role because we were doing everything - he couldn't drive, make dinner, do the shopping, cut the grass, and fix things… but I brought a cupboard up from London just so he could paint it with me because it was a practical thing that I needed for my house.

"I knew this activity was worth doing and things like that sparked conversation, he’d remember where he bought some things from… and we realised when his mind was busy doing something practical, the conversation was so much better and he stayed in the moment so much longer. I got my old dad back when we started doing activities together."

What else happened on This Morning?

Oti Mabuse has revealed the trauma she felt when her baby was in NICU.
Oti Mabuse has revealed the trauma she felt when her baby was in NICU. (ITV/screengrab)

Dancing On Ice judge and former Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse was also a guest on Thursday's This Morning, where she opened up on what it had been like to spend six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with her daughter who was born two months early.

Mabuse said it had been a "traumatising" experience, but added that she had made a new group of friends with the other mums in the NICU.

The TV star said of her baby daughter: "She was in the NICU for about six weeks, she came two months early which was totally unexpected. I gave birth at UCLH and they were so amazing, the NHS. I don't usually get sick, so I'm never in hospital and I don't have to use the NHS that much. But then I really needed them and they were incredible.

"They looked after us so well, not just me but all the mothers there. I have a few NICU mum friends now, we keep in touch and we talk about each other's children.

"The whole process, to go through it was something really traumatising and I didn't really talk about it."

This Morning airs on ITV at 10am on weekdays.

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