Dame Barbara Windsor moves to care home as Alzheimer’s worsens
Dame Barbara Windsor has been moved into a care home because of her worsening condition from Alzheimer’s disease, her husband said.
Scott Mitchell, who has been married to the EastEnders star for 20 years, said her symptoms had been worse during lockdown and that she had left the couple’s home in mid-July.
The 82-year-old actress was first diagnosed with the disease in 2014 but it has significantly worsened in recent years, Mr Mitchell said.
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Speaking to The Sun, her 57-year-old husband said: “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.”
‘Something I never wanted’
He continued: “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.”
Dame Barbara Windsor with her husband Scott Mitchell. (Photo: Getty)
Mr Mitchell said he first noticed symptoms of Alzheimer’s in 2009, when Dame Barbara began finding it difficult to learn her lines.
He added that she has now been moved to a care home in London where her bedroom has been decorated with pictures of family and friends.
Speaking of the day he left Dame Barbara at the home, 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 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.”
He added: “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 six years ago and made the news public in 2018.
Both Dame Barbara and her husband have campaigned to raise awareness of the illness, which is most common in people over the age of 65.
She is most famous for having played Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, but also had roles in the Carry On films and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to charity and entertainment.
Additional reporting from the Press Association