Mr Donovan, the real life father of Jason Donovan (who starred as Scott Robinson), reprised his role as Doug Willis last year and returns on-air this week (November 20), to visit his on-screen family before his character’s memory is completely eroded by the disease.
This highly emotional story line moved viewers when Doug was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after a series of mishaps last year. It has a devastating impact on the entire family including his son played by Kip Gamblin and estranged daughter-in-law Terese played by his former on-screen daughter from Home and Away Rebekah Elmaloglou.
Terence, who is actively involved with the Alzheimer’s Australia Association, commended the writers of Neighbours for raising awareness of this debilitating illness which has touched the acting stalwart personally through loved ones struggling with the disease.
“I think Neighbours is a wonderful forum to raise the subject (of Alzheimer’s) with young people so they are aware of what older people are coping with, and nearly all families are going to be impacted by it in the future,” said Mr Donovan.
The story highlights the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers at home and the options available to them. An estimated 1800 people are diagnosed each week with varying forms of dementia including Alzheimer's and over 1.2 million people are involved in caring for a relative with the disease.