Dame Barbara Windsor may have to go into care home amid Alzheimer's battle

Julia Hunt
Contributor
Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell in Downing Street, London in 2019 (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Dame Barbara Windsor's husband has said the screen legend may have to go into a care home as her Alzheimer's gets worse.

The actress, 82 – who is best known for playing EastEnders’ pub landlady Peggy Mitchell - was diagnosed with the disease in 2014.

Her husband Scott Mitchell, who she has been married to for 20 years, said having his wife go into care was something he had “always feared”.

Read more: Dame Barbara Windsor asks Boris Johnson to help dementia patients

He opens up about the star’s condition to her soap son Ross Kemp in his new ITV programme Ross Kemp: Living With Dementia.

According to The Sun, Mitchell, 57, tells how a doctor has advised him to prepare for the fact that Dame Barbara may need to go into care.

He said: “He’s basically telling me I need to prepare myself that at some point it may not be sustainable to give her the kind of care she needs at the house.

“I’ve had some fairly dark moments since he said that because there’s a part of me that knows that most likely is the truth and that’s what needs to happen.”

Mitchell admitted part of him can not imagine letting his wife go, “and her thinking, ‘Why has he done this to me?’”

Kemp, who starred as Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap, recently told how Dame Barbara failed to recognise him during one visit.

The actor, 55, said it has been “deeply upsetting” to see his friend’s condition deteriorate following her diagnosis.

Read more: Barbara Windsor makes rare TV appearance

He said: “I see her as often as I can – every couple of months before the lockdown – and the deterioration in her condition has been shocking and, to those of us close to her, deeply upsetting.”

The actress is rarely seen in public these days, but in January she described Alzheimer’s as “a cruel illness” as she made a rare appearance in a video message.

EastEnders stars Ross Kemp, Barbara Windsor & Steve McFadden with the award for Best British Soap at the British Soap Awards

The soap legend was seen in a video played at the first Good Morning Britain 1 Million Minutes Awards.

In the clip, the actress awarded a man the inaugural Dame Barbara Windsor Award - an accolade for someone who has helped people with Alzheimer’s or dementia combat loneliness. 

Addressing the winner, she said: “Volunteers like you are so important in the fight against loneliness, especially for those like us, who know all too well the struggles of a cruel illness.”