Pirate FM News 4 minute read

Dame Barbara Windsor is moved into care home as Alzheimer's worsens

Dame Barbara Windsor is moved into care home as Alzheimer's worsens

Published at 3:09am 1st August 2020. (Updated at 8:34pm 1st August 2020)

Former EastEnders star Dame Barbara Windsor has been placed in full-time residential care after her Alzheimer's worsened during lockdown.

Scott Mitchell, her husband of 20 years, said he had acted on the advice of her neurologist but the decision had still been immensely painful.

He said the 82-year-old actress left the couple's property in mid-July and moved to a care home in London.

He told The Sun: "I feel I'm on an emotional rollercoaster. I walk around, trying to keep busy, then burst in to tears. It feels like a bereavement.

"It's always been my biggest fear that one day I would have to take her somewhere and she'd be thinking: 'Why would he do this to me?'

"That fear has become a reality. It's something I never wanted."

Speaking of the day he left Dame Barbara at the home, Mr Mitchell said: "I'll never forget the feeling of emptiness. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach that I'd left her. I still feel like that.

"By the time I got home and went to bed, I just felt desperately sad. It's been 27 years since we met and we spent so much of that time in each other's company. It feels like another chapter has gone."

He has decorated her room to make it as welcoming as possible, putting up family pictures as well as a photograph of the actress receiving her damehood from the Queen.

Mr Mitchell, 57, had said in June that his wife would need full-time care at some stage, describing it as something he had "always feared".

He said at the time that she often did not recognise their home and she has recently had trouble walking, prompting her to use a wheelchair.

This week he said: "She still seems unsettled and, in her lucid moments, I can see she's worked out this isn't temporary. She's still thinking and saying I've let her down. Of course that's a painful thing to hear, but I know it's not the Barbara I know speaking.

"And, let's be honest, who else is she going to blame? I just have to smile and tell her I love her and everything I do is for her best wellbeing. I am no different to millions of other people who would have experienced this."

Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014 and Mr Mitchell revealed the news publicly four years later.

Recalling the moment when the couple were told of the diagnosis, he said: "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'."

Mr Mitchell said he first noticed symptoms of Alzheimer's in 2009, when Dame Barbara began finding it difficult to learn her lines.

By 2016, the forgetfulness and confusion were worse, and it was agreed she would leave her acting role as pub landlord Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders.

In September last year, the couple delivered a letter to Downing Street signed by 100,000 people, requesting better support for people with Alzheimer's.

The letter said dementia care across the country was "difficult and in some places even impossible to access".

Dame Barbara made her stage debut aged 13, but it was her work in the Carry On movies in the 1960s and 70s that made her a star.

She was awarded an MBE in the Millennium New Year honours.

Away from her acting roles, Dame Barbara is probably most famous for her support of the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.

She has now retired from charity work and acting.

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Suggested articles

Coronavirus: Testing for COVID-19 in care homes delayed until September

National News: Government plans to delay COVID-19 testing for all residents and staff at care homes until early September have been described as "an absolute kick in the teeth".

Plans for 46 new homes in Liskeard move forward

Cornwall News: The homes will be for people living and working in Cornwall

Newer articles

Amitabh Bachchan: Bollywood legend leaves hospital after recovering from coronavirus

Showbiz News: Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan has left hospital after recovering from coronavirus.

Nolan sisters Anne and Linda reveal they both have cancer and were diagnosed just days apart

Showbiz News: Two of the Nolan sisters have spoken of their devastation after being diagnosed with different forms of cancer just days apart.

Older articles

BAFTA TV Awards: Chernobyl among the big winners at virtual ceremony

Showbiz News: Chernobyl has won two top prizes at this year's virtual BAFTA TV ceremony following huge success at the organisation's craft awards earlier this month.

Ramy Youssef: Golden Globe win had huge impact

Showbiz News: Before Jennifer Aniston read out his name at this year's Golden Globes, many were not aware of the talents of Ramy Youssef.

Most read

Man dies after being pulled from the sea in west Cornwall

Cornwall News: Members of the public and emergency services tried to save him

New lockdowns don’t affect tourists coming to Cornwall

Cornwall News: The rules in the north of England don't include travel restrictions

Sky News LogoThis article © Sky News.