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Friday 18th October 2019

Barbara Windsor's Alzheimer's has got "worse" admits her husband Scott Mitchell

He spoke on The Chris Evans Virgin Radio Breakfast Show

Dame Barbara Windsor's Alzheimer's is slowly getting worse, her distraught husband has confirmed.

Scott Mitchell and Barbara's former EastEnders colleague Tanya Franks, who plays Rainie, were guests on The Chris Evans Virgin Radio Breakfast Show when he revealed the sad news today (August 8).

Scott and Tanya took part in a charity auction (Credit: Virgin Radio)

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During his regular morning slot, DJ Chris gave listeners the chance to join him and bid in a charity auction for a VIP package and unforgettable Amsterdam Marathon experience, in aid of Dementia Revolution.

Scott and Tanya, who both ran the London Marathon this year in aid of the charity, joined Chris in the studio to discuss how Alzheimer's has affected their family members.

Scott told him: "The Alzheimer's Society always say not to say suffering, they say living with.

"But whatever way you look at it, that is what it ends up as and I'm really clear about that. Yes you live with it, the person lives with it, and it is a progressive illness."

They were all smiles while raising money for a good cause (Credit: Virgin Radio)

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Scott, who has been married to Barbara, now 82, for 19 years, continued: "The thing about Barbara is, since the last time I spoke to you [on the show], I'd say things are the same and a bit worse.

"The confusion deepens, there are two sides of the condition with Barbara, sometimes we will be sitting there having a normal conversation and watching TV or seeing people she knows on the TV.

I can't describe the feeling when they look at you and have a bit of doubt about who you are and what you are doing there.

"Just chatting and laughing, and her humour is brilliant. And then, let's say, I can be the centre of her universe, if I leave the lounge to the kitchen, she will shout out 'Scott where are you?'"

Tanya took calls from callers bidding on the charity auction (Credit: Virgin Radio)

Scott added: "This moves me a lot. The reverse side of that is she goes from looking at me like that, to sometimes and it is becoming quite regular now, she will ask if we are married? Have you stayed here before? Or are we going home now, when we are sitting in our front room."

The former actor and recruitment consultant, 56, went on to ask the listeners to imagine how that would feel if it was their loved one.

He said: "I just want people to think about how that would feel, whether it's your partner as in my case that I have spent 26 years with, or a parent, or grandparent.

"I can't describe the feeling when they look at you and have a bit of doubt about who you are and what you are doing there. This is why we are doing this, to help avoid this for future generations. It is cruel because it leads you into a false sense of security."

Scott wants to banish Alzheimer's forever (Credit: Virgin Radio)

"Because those moments when she is lucid and is just Barbara, sometimes I forget," he admitted. "Then the next sentence will be something like 'when are we going home Scott?'

"And that is when the reality hits you. It is a crazy disease. The majority of us are not prepared for it. We are not carers; we don't know how it is going to affect us and how we are going to react in that situation.

"This disease will test you to your core, as a carer watching a loved one go through this. Your resilience will be tested like no other thing you will ever go through. I know that is how it has affected me. My whole world has changed from that day of diagnosis."

Scott told Chris that he and Barbara rarely go out now, saying they watch TV most nights because it's difficult to get out.

Scott and Barbara attended the press night for musical Hamilton in December 2017 (Credit: Splash)

Scott went on to say it is a "hard thing to watch", adding: "When you have known this person, the way you know them. Barbara, God bless her, her memory was the best ever.

"She could remember if I said something 23 years ago, she would bring it up. I can see the frustration it causes her and for those living with it, what happens is they get caught between this world and the other world, you go off to where you know you are having these black-outs.

"Where suddenly you don't know where you are and that is a heartbreaking thing to watch for anyone."

Explaining that it's a difficult situation to explain to children, Scott revealed that Barbara's former co-star Jake Wood - aka Max Branning - recently visited with his kids.

Barbara in a short film for Dementia Revolution (Credit: Dementia Revolution)

He said: "I must say his children are so good with Barbara, they really are amazing. They really accept it, and they know that she will say the same thing to them. People are becoming so aware."

As Tanya discussed her stepfather's Alzheimer's, and admitted the frustration her mum feels living with it on a daily basis, Scott agreed saying: "And I do get frustrated. I wouldn't be human.

"It is hard to be a saint in this situation. It is pretty impossible not to have feelings of frustration and irritability. Even though you know they can't help it, we are human. We have our own breaking points."

Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014, but Scott only made the sad news public last year.

The Chris Evans Virgin Radio Breakfast Show with Sky, every weekday from 6:30am

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