It’s the moment every spouse or close relative dreads when caring for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. And now the devoted husband of Carry On star Barbara Windsor has revealed he was left “sobbing” after the legendary TV star forgot who he was for the very first time.
Opening up in an emotional and candid interview with The Sun, Scott Mitchell revealed he has now resorted to pinning up small reminders and photos of the pair together in their home to try to keep the legendary actress’ deteriorating memory alive.
Barbara, well known for her roles in Carry On, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and UK soap EastEnders, was initially diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease more than four years ago, but kept it secret until Scott revealed all to The Sun earlier this year.
While he said at the time that she had begun losing her memory, she had at that point always remembered who he was. But while he always knew it was a possibility, Scott has now revealed his agony after she forgot who he was for the first time recently.
“About two weeks ago, she’d had a bath and I was drying her back, when suddenly she looked at me with almost fearful apprehension,” he told the news outlet. “She said, ‘Who are you? What are you doing here?’ and I replied, ‘It’s me Bar, it’s Scott, your husband’.
“She snapped out of it almost instantly but then became very distressed and cried, ‘Oh Scott, it’s my memory, I’m so sorry’.”
Scott admitted he had managed to remain composed at the time, for the sake of his wife, but broke down and sobbed when he got into bed that night, describing the moment – however brief – as “terrifying”.
He told the news outlet he has now begun pinning up photos of them together on a noticeboard under the TV in their living room, with little reminders of how long they have been married.
Revealing the extent of Barbara’s deteriorating health now – just five months after he first spoke out – Scott admitted his famous wife often believes they’re living in her childhood home and even asks him if her parents are still there.
However, amid the devastating moments are some periods of happiness, as Barbara’s vibrant personality continues to shine through. Scott recalled in the interview how his wife still asks him to act out the role of a 1970s fairground attendant whenever she uses her chair lift at home – something he did when she first got it and which left her in fits of laughter.
Meanwhile, he said they often watch her old TV show EastEnders together, which he admitted sometimes stirs up memories of her own role at famous landlady Peggy Mitchell.
Remaining remarkably honest throughout, Scott said he is often overcome with guilt when he allows his frustration to show to his wife. While he remains composed most of the time, he said he sometimes becomes exhausted with the constant repeated questions – something he’d prefer never to show to Barbara.
It comes just a month after Scott revealed the actress had had a pacemaker fitted after complications with her Alzheimer’s medication left her feeling dizzy and unable to catch her breath.
Windsor underwent the procedure in August after she was rushed to hospital, having collapsed at their home in London, with doctors attributing the health problems to medication she was taking for her Alzheimer’s.
“Barbara was suffering from a low heart rate which doctors thought was being caused by some of her medication,” he told the publication at the time.
“She was getting very dizzy and short of breath and fainted one day at home, so she had an eight-day hospital spell about four weeks ago and they’ve put in a pacemaker for her.”
Scott broke the news that Barbara was suffering Alzheimer’s back in May, telling The Sun about the moment that his wife found out the shocking news.
At the time, he said: “When the doctor told us, she began crying then held it back, stretched her hand out to me and mouthed, ‘I’m so sorry…’ I squeezed her hand back and said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be OK’.”