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RICE

Actor and presenter Tony Robinson makes an appeal on behalf of RICE: The Research Institute for the Care of Older People. The film features author Sir Terry Pratchett.


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There are over 750,000 people

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with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia in the UK.

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Most of them are over 65.

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You get this real sense of helplessness and isolation

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when you just have to sit there and watch someone you really care about

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declining, day after day.

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Both my mum and dad suffered from dementia

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which is a horrible disease that causes extreme memory loss,

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so that simple acts, like making a cup of tea,

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or washing yourself,

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or even remembering the name of someone

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that you've known for the last 60 years becomes impossible for you.

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And I had to watch that decline in my mum and dad

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right through to the bitter end.

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I've come to see a very good friend of mine.

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Sir Terry Pratchett is a national treasure.

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He's also one of the 800,000 people in the UK

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currently living with dementia.

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How did you first realise that you had some kind of dementia?

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I was doing an Italian tour.

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When I arrived, I had a button done up wrong

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on my shirt and I came home

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and I thought, "I don't know what's going on here."

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It was little things like that all the time,

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so, I went to see my GP,

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she gave me a little test which, frankly,

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a slightly crippled tortoise could actually manage to go through.

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Did you go away from the doctor thinking, "It's fine, there's nothing wrong with me"?

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Well, yes, and so did she,

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and then after a while I thought, "There's got to be more to this."

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Were you very frightened?

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My typing didn't seem to be right and nor did my eyesight

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and THAT worried me.

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Although he didn't know it at the time,

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Sir Terry had a rare form of dementia.

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Being diagnosed with dementia can, of course, feel really traumatic

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and not just for the person who's got the disease.

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I remember when I was confronted by issues surrounding my mum and dad,

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feeling really isolated and, basically, fairly useless.

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And that is where RICE,

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a research institute for the care of older people comes in.

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It's a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life

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for those with dementia and their families and carers.

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Do you know where that is on the map, David?

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-Have you got some hearing aids?

-I've got one.

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25 years ago, RICE started one of the first memory clinics in the UK.

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What's this called?

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It's something you sleep in.

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-A bed.

-They provide specialist services for people with dementia

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which are individually tailored programmes

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to assess, diagnose and treat people with memory problems.

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And there are dedicated carers' courses

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for the family and friends of those affected by dementia.

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Caring for someone with this harrowing condition

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is all too familiar for Ingrid Aspell.

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I walked into the church feeling happy,

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relaxed and enjoying every minute of it.

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I arrived at the altar, Terry stepped forward and kissed me

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to greet me and I'll never forget that moment.

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Look, this is a picture of the day we got married

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and this is me arriving at the church with Ian.

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-There it is, still there now.

-No.

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-I've never taken it off.

-No, no.

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Now, of course, he's still Terry, but he IS a very different person.

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-Can you see down there, Terry, there's two magpies?

-You what?

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In 2007, Terry Aspell was diagnosed with Alzhemier's disease.

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Two magpies, just down there.

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-I don't know what you're talking about.

-Magpies, black-and-white birds.

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I became Terry's full-time carer,

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which is not an easy thing to handle,

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because you become more of a mother than a wife.

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It is a loneliness that you cannot really describe,

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because you are totally responsible for somebody who is desperately ill.

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Fortunately for Ingrid, RICE were there to help.

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Hello, Mrs Glyn.

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Professor Jones is the director of RICE's memory clinic

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and an international expert in treating dementia.

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There are about 50 different types of dementia.

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The one that most people are aware of is Alzheimer's disease,

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which causes about two-thirds of the cases.

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What we do is a careful assessment of memory,

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a careful assessment of thinking processes,

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checking for all sorts of different potential medical issues.

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After patients have been diagnosed, RICE treats them.

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One dynamic technique is cognitive stimulation therapy.

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Does anyone know who this is?

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It's meant to be fun,

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it's meant to encourage the people with dementia to take part.

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-William.

-Prince William, yes.

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-Thank you.

-I thought that's who it was.

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They become much more confident, they start to take part in the group

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in a much bigger way than perhaps when they started.

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But RICE doesn't just treat patients,

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it conducts cutting-edge research.

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They've helped to develop four of the drugs

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currently being used to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease.

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The vitally important research that RICE carries out

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helps millions of people with dementia

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have a better quality of life,

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not just in the UK, but worldwide.

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In 2008, Sir Terry Pratchett began attending the RICE memory clinic...

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-Come in.

-... under the guidance of Professor Jones.

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It was known that we had a particular interest

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in posterior cortical atrophy,

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which is the type of dementia that he has.

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RICE's experience of rare forms of dementia

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meant they were able to treat Sir Terry.

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At that point, I couldn't get any prescriptions for the medications

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that were available and do help, but I was able to get them from Roy.

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I don't know what I would have done without RICE, I really do not.

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And RICE's carers' courses have taught Ingrid Aspell

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how to look after her husband, Terry,

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just when he needs that help most.

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They gave me the confidence in myself

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and I can only ever say my gratitude to RICE

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and to Professor Jones will be with me for the rest of my life.

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Yeah. Is that nice?

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Over the years, RICE has seen more than 10,000 people

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with memory problems and dementia.

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But with the number of people with dementia in the UK

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increasing every year,

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the charity desperately needs your help.

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This is where you can make a real difference.

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Please go to the website, bbc.co.uk/lifeline

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where you can make a donation.

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If you don't have access to the internet, then call 0800 011 011.

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And if you can't get through, please keep trying.

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You can also donate £10 by texting 'Give' to 70121.

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network charge

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and the whole £10 goes to RICE.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable to RICE and send it to Freepost,

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BBC Lifeline Appeal, writing RICE on the back of the envelope.

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Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,

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the charity can collect gift aid on your donation

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worth another 25%.

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Just send in a note to say you want your donation

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to be subject to gift aid and include the date,

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your full name and address.

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Thank you.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd.

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Actor and presenter Tony Robinson makes an appeal on behalf of RICE: The Research Institute for the Care of Older People. They are a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with dementia, their families and carers.

The film features bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett who, in 2005, noticed he started making a lot of typographical errors in his writing. He began having difficulties following text, and had problems dressing himself.

In 2008, Sir Terry began attending RICE having been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia. The charity have helped him find the best treatment for his condition and continue to support him.