Scott Mitchell reveals Dame Barbara Windsor would forget they were married because of her dementia

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Dame Barbara Windsor’s widower Scott Mitchell reveals the EastEnders star would forget they were married because of her dementia – but then celebrate when he reminded her they were

  • Barbara Windsor’s widower Scott Mitchell had to remind her they were married 
  • Dame Barbara battled Alzheimer’s dementia for seven years before her death
  • She was 83 when she passed away in December 2020, leaving Scott devastated
  • Star known for her roles in Carry On films and as Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders

Dame Barbara Windsor’s widower Scott Mitchell has revealed he would have to remind her they were married because of her dementia.

EastEnders Peggy Mitchell and Carry On icon Dame Barbara died in December 2020, aged 83, following a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Scott, 59, said the disease was one of the cruellest and explained how it slowly took away her memories of their 27-year marriage.

He appeared on ITV’s Lorraine today, saying:  ‘It’s the cruellest of diseases and you are very powerless to stop it doing what it’s doing to the person you love.

‘None of us are really equipped, I’m not qualified and you’re reacting all the time to these new challenges.

Dame Barbara Windsor's widower Scott Mitchell (pictured together in 2011) has revealed he would have to remind her they were married because of her dementia

Dame Barbara Windsor’s widower Scott Mitchell (pictured together in 2011) has revealed he would have to remind her they were married because of her dementia 

Appearing on Lorraine today, Scott, 59, said the disease was one of the cruellest and explained how it slowly took away her memories of their 27-year marriage

Appearing on Lorraine today, Scott, 59, said the disease was one of the cruellest and explained how it slowly took away her memories of their 27-year marriage

‘As it progresses and things do get more difficult and there’s less recognition with her and I.

‘She would look at our photos and say, “How long have you lived here?” and I had been there 25 years.

‘Occasionally she would go, “Are we married?” ‘I would say yeah and she went “yes!”

‘It was very sweet but heartbreaking. It’s bittersweet.’

Scott also urged Prime Minister Liz Truss to fund finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and not U-turn on the issue.

He told ITV's Lorraine that while it was'very sweet' it was also'heartbreaking' that she couldn't remember

He told ITV’s Lorraine that while it was ‘very sweet’ it was also ‘heartbreaking’ that she couldn’t remember

Boris Johnson promised £95million for the cause just two months ago and said the government would name a task force in her name to combat the disease.

Scott said while Dame Barbara ‘would have been thrilled’, he admitted he was ‘a little bit concerned’ whether Liz Truss would keep the former PM’s promise.

He said: ‘I’m an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and they had this conception that if we have a taskforce like we had for COVID, then we can just focus on dementia. 

‘We need a cure.’

Scott admitted he was'a little bit concerned' whether Liz Truss would keep the former PM's promise of £95million for the cause

Scott admitted he was ‘a little bit concerned’ whether Liz Truss would keep the former PM’s promise of £95million for the cause

Loss: The actor, 59, who is preparing to release his new book, By Your Side My Life Loving Barbara Windsor, was married to the actress for 27 years (pictured in 2019)

Loss: The actor, 59, who is preparing to release his new book, By Your Side My Life Loving Barbara Windsor, was married to the actress for 27 years (pictured in 2019)

Dame Barbara Windsor battled Alzheimer's dementia for seven years after she was diagnosed in 2013. She died aged 83 in December 2020

Dame Barbara Windsor battled Alzheimer’s dementia for seven years after she was diagnosed in 2013. She died aged 83 in December 2020

‘The interviews to put people in place for this was supposed to take place two weeks ago.  

‘[I was] told that there’s issues with the budget sign off for the dementia task force. 

‘I understand we are in a very bad place as far as economy and savings and cuts [but] dementia cannot be touched.

‘This is about trialling new drugs. If we start that tomorrow, it’s going to be two or three years before we can get them actually active into the system. 

‘If you delay this now, again, after all these years, we’re going to be talking about another five or six years before this can happen.

‘Please, Prime Minister, do not touch that money. Do not hold this, do not delay this.’

The UK government said it ‘remains strongly committed to supporting research into dementia’.

WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, in which build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die.

This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, and causes the brain to shrink. 

More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the US, where it is the 6th leading cause of death, and more than 1 million Britons have it.

WHAT HAPPENS?

As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost. 

That includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason. 

The progress of the disease is slow and gradual. 

On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live for ten to 15 years.

EARLY SYMPTOMS:

  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Disorientation
  • Behavioral changes
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulties dealing with money or making a phone call 

LATER SYMPTOMS:

  • Severe memory loss, forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places
  • Becoming anxious and frustrated over inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behavior 
  • Eventually lose ability to walk
  • May have problems eating 
  • The majority will eventually need 24-hour care   

 Source: Alzheimer’s Association

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