Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell has opened up about the reality of living with his wife’s dementia and revealed the heartbreaking moment she couldn’t recall who he was.
The former ‘EastEnders’ star was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, however the public only became aware in October 2018 when Scott announced he would be running the London marathon this year alongside Dame Barbara’s former co-stars to raise money for dementia research.
In an interview on Tuesday’s ‘Good Morning Britain’, Scott talked about his wife’s memory loss, admitting he feared the actress may one day not recognise him.
“It’s now quite instant, the forgetfulness is quite instant,” he said.
Despite her condition, Scott added that the ‘Carry On’ legend still gets out for trips to the theatre.
“She gets herself together for moments like that,” he said. ”When we go there something happens to Barbara when she’s out. It’s like her old self comes out.”
But he added: “That’s not the reality. Our reality is, for instance the last few weeks, her confusion is really bad… I spend a lot of time explaining where we are. She has a lot of trouble identifying our house. She will say, ’Are we staying here tonight? Have we got clothes here?
“That’s the reality of what people living with dementia are going through.”
He continued: “I have a board where there’s pictures of us from the beginning. She will suddenly say to me, ‘How long have we been together’. I say, ‘25 years’.
And on what he feared the most, Scott said: “I think it’s when every memory will go. When, on a constant basis, maybe one day Barbara won’t know who I am.
“I’ve had it twice. I was helping her out of the bath and she suddenly looked at me very scared and said, ‘Sorry, who are you?’. There are no words that can describe it.”
Running with Scott in this year’s London marathon will be Barbara’s former ‘EastEnders’ co-star Jake Wood.
The actor explained: “I vowed never again when I ran it 20 years ago but obviously Barbara is much loved by all of the cast at EastEnders and we love Scott and we wanted to do something to raise money and awareness of the condition. Dementia affects a million people in this country and it’s under-funded.”
Scott will lead the team, which also includes ‘EastEnders’ actors Adam Woodyatt, Natalie Cassidy, Emma Barton, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter.