Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell has issued a plea to the public to check loved ones for sigs of dementia this Valentine’s day, saying early diagnosis helped the acting legend enjoy her career for as long as possible.
The EastEnders star was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease – a form of dementia – in 2014 and Mitchell said that detecting the condition early meant she could get the support she needed.
“It’s so important to catch the signs early enough to ensure that you, your family and your loved one receive the support available from the NHS and charities like Alzheimer’s Society, so they can face the challenges dementia creates,” he said.
“Having Barbara diagnosed early was a positive move and allowed us to adjust to her condition and, in my opinion, gave her an extra two years of being able to continue working and appearances in EastEnders which were normality to her and to live life as fully as possible.”
[Read More: 10 Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease]
Mitchell urged people to follow NHS England’s advice to ‘check your mate’ for changes such as mood swings and depression, which could be the first indication that someone has dementia.
“If they are acting out of character and if you’re worried, gently suggest they visit their GP and receive the care and support they deserve,” he said.
Alzheimer’s disease is often associated with loss of memory, but changes in behaviour or personality can also be warning signs.
The 10 symptoms to look out for are:
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spacial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgment
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood and personality
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but if you believe you or a loved one are suffering, you should visit your GP as soon as possible because they may be able to prescribe drugs to slow the progression of some symptoms.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, it’s also beneficial for a person who has been diagnosed to continue with hobbies they enjoy in order to keep their minds active.