Ted Lasso actor Kola Bokinni reveals dad has dementia, as he supports powerful new campaign from Alzheimer’s Research UK

Kola Bokinni
Kola Bokinni

By Arjun Sanganee | Thursday 21 September 2023

Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni has publicly shared for the first time the devastating impact dementia has had on his family to drive awareness and support Alzheimer’s Research UK’s search for a cure.

The 31-year-old actor, who plays AFC Richmond captain Isaac McAdoo in the Emmy and SAG Award winning Apple TV+ series, has revealed that his father, Taiwo, is living with vascular dementia. The 81-year-old first started showing symptoms four years ago, when Kola was filming the first series of the hit TV show, and he now requires round-the-clock care.

“I first noticed something wasn’t right about four years ago when I was filming the first series of Ted Lasso,” said Kola, about his father’s dementia. “I’d come home and I noticed things like he’d forgotten to eat. He was always a very meticulous person who was very clean and image proud and had a set routine. Sometimes I’d return and he’d still be in bed at 12noon, when he was normally someone who would get up at 8am every morning. I knew things were seriously wrong when he thought my cousin was my girlfriend, but I had no idea what it could be. We got him in for some tests and found out he had vascular dementia.”

Kola opened up about the heartbreaking effect of dementia on his family in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s new campaign film, Change The Ending, voiced by Oscar-winning actor Olivia Colman. The powerful film puts a spotlight on the many heartbreaking ways dementia affects people’s lives.

Kola added, “My dad was the life and soul of the party. He was so generous and always really happy, but sadly dementia has taken all that away from him. Dementia doesn’t just affect the person who has the diagnosis, it affects the whole family. It’s so hard to sit back and watch someone become a shell of their former self.

“While I know it’s too late for my dad, I want to do everything I can to change the ending for others because no one’s life should ever end this way. I’m proud to stand with Alzheimer’s Research UK, because I know with our support, they will find the cure we’re all desperately waiting on.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Change The Ending film, which launched today on World Alzheimer’s Day (Thursday 21 September), lays bare the harsh reality of dementia, by showing how the effects of the condition rob people of their ‘happily ever after’. The UK’s leading dementia research charity hopes the powerful film will rally support for a cure.

Hilary Evans, Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Chief Executive, said, “We’re incredibly grateful to Kola for bravely sharing the devastating impact of his father’s dementia, in a selfless effort to change the ending for others. Tragically, Kola’s story is one many families are being forced to live through today and, as it stands, no one survives dementia.

“At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we exist to change that by leading the search for a cure. To rally the support we need, we must be painfully honest about dementia, which is why we’ve launched our new film. We know the film will be hard to watch, but by facing up to the harsh realities of this condition, we hope to make clear that now is the time to take action.

“There has never been a more exciting time to support dementia research, as new treatments are finally on the horizon. But we must not lose momentum now – we must build on this progress to deliver a cure for every single person affected by dementia.”

 

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Arjun Sanganee