Actress Speaks About Her Mother's Dementia

Jun 10, 2014

Actor, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Credit Laura Goodwin

You probably recognize actor Kimberly Williams-Paisley. She got her start in the Steve Martin movie, "Father of the Bride," and has starred in multiple TV sitcoms, including "Two and A Half Men" and "Nashville."

Williams-Paisley is a writer, too, and she recently shared the challenges her family faced after her mother was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia in 2005.

Williams-Paisley's essay, "Facing My Mother's Dementia," was published in RedbookShe spoke with WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil, and said her mother's diagnosis was devastating. She uses the phrase "death by papercut" to explain what it's been like seeing her mother change over the last decade. 

Williams-Paisley said, "It's just every day a little nick that hurts, and you see her over time disappearing, slowly. Watching her transform from who she was -- this vibrant, very smart, articulate, fantastic writer, just this wonderful person -- into someone who, at times, was really wild, and aggressive, and angry. Just a completely different person."  

The Alzheimer's Association estimates one in three senior citizens will have some type of dementia before they die.

Williams-Paisley said there's a reason she and her father are sharing their story about a loved one: "To help other people recognize that it's okay to talk about it. There doesn't need to be this stigma around dementia."

Kimberly and her father, Gurney Williams III
Credit Williams family

Williams-Paisley and her father, Gurney Williams, will speak at a benefit this Friday, June 13 for the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.