Georgia Kousoulou has discussed the hardships of having a loved with with dementia, and how difficult it's been for her nan and the rest of her family because of the ongoing pandemic.
Georgia's nan, whom she calls her YiaYia (Grandma in Greek), was diagnosed with the condition a few years ago, and is now cared for in a home in England.
While she's only living 35 minutes away from Georgia, the 30 year old TOWIE star hasn't been able to visit her for some time because of the pandemic, meaning her baby boy Brody, who's now seven months, is yet to meet his great grandma.
"I didn’t go to the care home when I was pregnant, and Brody’s seven months now and I haven’t seen her," Georgia told OK!.
"At the moment, I think they are allowing a visitor but you have to be fully dressed in visors and everything, and you’re not allowed children under three and I’d have to get childcare."
"That’s not the problem though," she continued. "Because of her dementia she’s forgotten how to speak English so really I need to go there with my dad so he can translate as I don’t speak Greek.
"It’s a bit of a nightmare."
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Georgia further expressed her concerns of it still being "a bit risky" for her nan and Brody to meet one another yet, but hopes that one day she'll be able to get a picture of them together.
She said: "Even if I could have (visited her recently), I probably wouldn’t have taken Brody into that environment anyway because it’s a little bit risky for both of them, but I’d have liked to have taken her out.
"What we used to go to was take her out to a local café down the road from the care home. I was thinking I could do that, get Brody and go up there. It’s only 35 minutes away."
"They’ve met on FaceTime and she loves babies. She wouldn’t understand who he is but I really want a photo just of those two, but I don’t know how I’m ever gonna get it now," Georgia continued.
Like many families with a loved one with dementia, Georgia said that her nan's condition has sadly worsened over the pandemic and that her dad has "noticed such a difference".
"My dad visits her every week – obviously there were times where he couldn’t visit her – but he says he’s noticed such a difference," Georgia explained.
"At the height of the pandemic and he wasn’t allowed to see her, and when he was able to go back and visit, he just said that she wasn’t with it.
"My YiaYia is very touchy-feely and will grab your hand, kisses you – she communicates by touching. That’s part of it, you know, because she really enjoys (the physical contact). She’s so loveable, and obviously my dad has had to see her through a screen loads of times and he got nothing back from her. She didn’t know who he was."
In light of witnessing her nan's condition first hand, Georgia has teamed up with Dementia UK this festive season for its Remember A Star campaign, which helps the charity to fund more Admiral Nurses to provide life-changing care and support to families affected by all forms of dementia.
Speaking about partnering up with Dementia UK, Georgia told OK!: "It just made sense to partner with Dementia UK because they’re amazing at what they do. It must be so tough being a nurse, especially for dementia because it's a 24/7 job; it isn’t like (nurses) can work until 5pm and then those they’re caring for are okay after that."
"Christmas is all about family isn’t it, and for me it brings back so many memories because when I was younger, my nan used to come over with my grandad every year and stay for the Christmas period because they used to live in Cyprus," she continued.
"We can’t have her with us this year because of COVID and she’s in a home. It makes you think about it all and the nurses that have to work on Christmas. It’s just so important."
Georiga went on: "Christmas is about giving, and loved ones, and it makes you appreciate the help. Families definitely appreciate the help they can get."
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