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Strictly star Angela Rippon, 78, shares health worries

 The former BBC presenter has spoken openly about her health concerns after both her parents were affected by dementia

Angela Rippon in a blue top on Lorraine
Melanie Macleod
Melanie MacleodWellness Editor
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Angela Rippon is best known for presenting BBC One's News at Nine, but this year she's taking on a new challenge, taking part in series 21 of Strictly Come Dancing.

At 78, the journalist is this year's oldest contestant, but she assured fans of the show she's more than capable, and can already do high kicks and the splits.

Super fit, it may come as a surprise that Angela has spoken openly in the past about her health concerns, which include dementia after both her parents were affected by the illness later in their lives.

Angela Rippon with her mother Edna © Alan Davidson/Shutterstock
Angela Rippon's mother Edna had dementia

Speaking on her documentary The Truth About Dementia, Angela said in 2017: "Although I’m fine, I do sometimes worry about my own risk."

At 80, one in six people is at risk of developing the condition, so Angela got her affairs in order when she was 72, to ensure she was protected should anything happen.

"None of us knows what’s going to happen to us, but I can do things like make sure my will is up to date and put things in place," she said.

Though Angela doesn't have any children, she has spoken to her godchildren about her wishes.

Angela Rippon during Women in Film & TV Awards 2019© Getty
Angela Rippon is vocal in raising awareness of dementia

"I can talk with my godchildren about the care I might like. At least they won’t have to agonise over what to do with Auntie Ang because Auntie Ang will have told them."

DISCOVER: Strictly Come Dancing contestant reveals front-runner following group rehearsals 

Via her documentary and media appearances, Angela has been active in raising awareness around dementia and spoke about her mother's battle during an interview in April 2023.

"As people with dementia very often have a complete change of character, she would get very, very angry," Angela explained to the Daily Express.

Angela Rippon at the The TRIC Awards 2023© Getty
Angela Rippon relied on the help of the Alzheimer's Society

 "I learnt not to take it personally, as that it was just the dementia speaking not my mum - and not to get upset by it.

"I learnt very quickly that there was no point arguing with [her] about things," she added, before sharing: "I learnt very quickly to join my mother's parallel universe and to agree with what she said, and if she got very difficult, to change the subject."

Angela explained she relied on the Alzheimer's Society for help with her mother, which is why she continues to work with the charity to raise awareness.

READ: Former Strictly Come Dancing star issues warning to new celeb line-up 

"I rang the Alzheimer's Society, and asked them for some help and advice and they were very, very supportive. And I felt that I wanted to give something back to them.

"So I became an ambassador for them and then have chaired various committees and things that they've done," Angela said of her work with the charity, which she's been doing since 2004.

We applaud Angela for raising awareness and can't wait to see how she gets on in Strictly.

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