Following through on the previous regime’s Alzheimer’s disease storyline is important to Mal Young, The Young and the Restless‘ executive producer and head writer. It seems has a deeply personal connection to the condition.
Young told the official blog for the Alzheimer’s organization that his late mother suffered from Alzheimer’s (as did Y&R creator and former head writer and senior executive producer William J. Bell).
Young shared with the website that he had humble origins, growing up in Liverpool, England where his mother worked in a cake shop and his father was a milkman. Although they lived modestly, he says, “we were exceptionally happy.”
Young’s parents instilled in him a love of television. His mom, in particular, was a fan of the British serial Coronation Street. “I am a lifelong storyteller because of my upbringing.”
After his father died, Young says his mother fell into a depression. “After he passed, Alzheimer’s seemed to seep in and take over. It weakened her.”
Young knew something had changed after he noticed his mom, who had always taken pride in a clean house, had let a thick coat of dust accumulate on her TV screen.
“That is when we went to the doctors…soon after, I watched the light go out of her eyes.” Next, Young and his sister made the painstaking decision to seek out a proper dementia care facility.
Young wants to share Dina’s journey with viewers so that those who have loved ones afflicted with the disease can find support and information — and those who don’t can be educated.
“It’s my belief that drama should reflect the bad and the good of life, and I’ve always approached it in an optimistic way,” he says. “Soap operas can be very therapeutic for the audience.”
The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for airtimes.