The 79-year-old, who is also known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter series and Walder Frey in the HBO fantasy series Games of Thrones, was so moved to play a character with dementia that he supported Alzheimer Society's Dementia Action Week back in May 2019. During the week, he encouraged people to have patience and understanding when dealing with people who have the condition.
Commenting on his experience in After Life, Bradley said: "Portraying a person with dementia in After Life gave me a real insight into the difficulties 850,000 people face every day and the impact it has on families across the UK.
"But it also highlighted how everyone can make a big difference just by being patient and understanding."
The show as a whole has been praised for its handling of both comedy and grief as it follows the protagonist Tony fights his demons after losing his wife, Lisa, to cancer.
"With one person every three minutes developing dementia, it's time for us to come together and unite against dementia with the Alzheimer's Society," Bradley added.
READ MORE: Robert Peston's health: ITV editor recovers from 'reactive arthritis' - what is it?
"I was shocked to discover that many people with this condition feel isolated and unsupported in their communities.
"Small friendly actions make a world of difference - Dementia Action Week is a great opportunity to start a conversation and help people living with dementia live the life they want."
The Alzheimer's Society explains that the word "dementia" describes a range of symptoms that over time can affect memory, problem solving, language, and behavior.
The condition is progressive, meaning the symptoms may begin as relatively mild but worsen over time.
Do not miss:
Although individuals often become confused about the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia, Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, and together with vascular dementia, it accounts for the majority of cases.
Common symptoms of the condition include:
- Memory loss
- Thinking speed
- Mental sharpness and speed
- Languages, such as using words incorrectly or difficulty speaking
- Difficulty performing daily activities.
Similarly, individuals may confuse dementia as a normal part of aging, especially due to memory loss, which affects us all to varying degrees as we get older.
For example, dementia-like symptoms may be caused by other conditions such as:
- Alcohol-related brain damage
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Functional cognitive decline.
However, the British charity stresses that the disease occurs when nerve cells in the brain are damaged.
Nerve cells are important as they carry messages between different parts of the brain and around the rest of the body. Using electrical and chemical signals, they help coordinate all of life's necessary functions.
Alzheimer's disease occurs when nerve cells cannot connect to each other due to the buildup of proteins that form abnormal structures known as "plaques" and "tangles".
Slightly deviating, vascular dementia in particular is due to a decreased blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels. Brain cell death can cause memory, thinking, or reasoning problems.
In addition to vascular dementia and Alzheimer's, other types of the condition include:
- Lewy body dementia
- Fronto-temporal dementia
- Mixed dementia
- Alcohol-related dementia.
Most types of dementia are not inherited from a parent to a child. There are a few genes that will cause dementia if passed on through generations, known as "familial" genes. However, these genes are rare.
The Alzheimer's Society explains that some particular lifestyle habits may increase your chances of developing dementia. These include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Hearing loss
If a person remains physically active, eats healthily, does not smoke, drinks less alcohol, remains mentally and socially active, and takes control of their overall health, research suggests that individuals may help reduce their risk of developing the condition.