LONDON, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Carey Mulligan is sharing new details about her grandmother's long struggle with dementia.
The 31-year-old English actress opened up about her grandmother Nans' condition while guest editing Best of Today on BBC Radio 4 this week.
"Every visit for the last seven years, she hasn't recognized any of us," Mulligan revealed. "When we leave, she won't remember that we've been there. But ... there's a calmness and there's a companionship and these really fundamental feelings of being loved and being taken care of by people who, you know, family who really love you."
"We've had terrible visits where we've all ended up in tears but then we have the visits where something really magical happens," she said.
Mulligan's grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2004 and presently lives in a care facility in Wales. The actress is a long-time supporter of the Alzheimer's Society, which works to raise awareness and support those affected by dementia.
"It gets tiresome hearing dementia being the butt of a joke," she said. "I think there's a general misunderstanding that in a lot of areas that dementia is a natural part of aging or it's just something that happens to you when you get older."
"Dementia is a disease -- it's a disease of the brain, there are lots of different kinds of dementia, Alzheimer's is one of them -- and [I want to spread] that awareness so that people really understand that this is a disease we have to fight," the star added.
The Alzheimer's Society named Mulligan the first-ever U.K. Global Dementia Friends Ambassador in August. She described her grandmother as "the single most influential person in [her] life aside from [her] parents" in an essay for the Telegraph the next month.
"She is very much still there -- and there is so much more to Nans than the dementia," the actress wrote. "For every visit that ends in tears of sadness, there are visits where we weep with joy. Like the times when we've played music for her and she's contentedly tapped her hand in perfect time."
Mulligan is known for Drive, The Great Gatsby and Inside Llewyn Davis, and last starred in Suffragette. She is slated for Mudbound with Garrett Hedlund and Wildlife with Jake Gyllenhaal.