Christopher Biggins says his friend Barbara has ‘tremendous energy’
After her shock diagnosis in 2014, Barbara Windsor’s close friends have rallied around to support the actress in her battle against dementia. Speaking about what it’s like when he goes to visit her, he said to the Daily Mirror newspaper, “When I'm with Barbara, I don't have sadness or tears because she would see that and I don't want her to. So I'm always upbeat with her. The last time I had lunch with her was three weeks ago.
"She looked wonderful, she had tremendous energy and we laughed a lot. But she asked me 'what are you doing?' eight or nine times because she'd forgotten my answer. Forgetting my answers each time was very sad. But I'd only show that sadness after I'd left her.'
"I'm so lucky, because being such a strong character, she always knows who I am. Although her short-term memory is not so good and she might forget what she did earlier in the day, her long-time memory is fantastic. So she's really entertaining when we talk about the old days. She can remember what I'd forgotten a long time ago."
Dame Barbara Windsor's Alzheimer's is worse at night according to her husband
The 'EastEnders' star was diagnosed with the degenerative brain condition in 2014 and her husband Scott Mitchell has admitted he finds it most difficult to deal with in the evenings as she keeps asking whose house they are in.
Speaking on BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon, Scott admitted that he finds it most difficult to deal with Barbara’s Alzheimer’s at night. He said: "There's good and bad days, the confusion does progress and that becomes a lot more stressful for her to live with and you as the carer to watch. I think what I've learnt by talking to other people is its very different for every case. It's very simple things that used to be very easy, whether that's signing something or writing a letter, opening something ... At times very frustrating and irritable. It gets worse at night, with Barbara, it's to do with our house. She constantly asks me over and over again at night whose house is this, are we staying here, is this house I grew up in with my mummy."
Scott - who is in training to run for Dementia Revolution at the Virgin Money London Marathon alongside some of Barbara's former co-stars - has previously insisted he has no plans to move Barbara into a care home as they're just taking things "day-by-day".
He said: We just take things day-by-day. I haven’t spoken to Barbara - about the end of her life. There is a lot of Barbara that is still very much present, and I think you have to be very sensitive when you talk to people who are actually living with the illness. There is a sensitivity. You talk about certain things, you talk about the reality of a lot of things. But I think one has to be careful about not traumatising or suddenly causing thoughts that may not be there at the moment."
For more news on homes for the future, pick up the latest copy of Yours
Barbara’s husband Scott gives an update on her condition
Her husband Scott has recently spoken out on Good Morning Britain about how his wife is living with Alzheimer’s and sadly, he says the confusion is now getting “really bad” as she is experiencing “instant forgetfulness”.
81-year-old Barbara’s battle with Alzheimer’s is now leading to heart-breaking moments where she forgets who the people around her are at times. She’s sometimes doesn't recognise her own home.
Speaking about their recent trip out to the theatre, he said: "She gets herself together for moments like that. When we go there something happens to Barbara when she's out. It's like her old self comes out.
"That's not the reality. Our reality is, for instance the last few weeks, her confusion is really bad ... I spend a lot of time explaining where we are.
"She has a lot of trouble identifying our house. She will say, 'Are we staying here tonight? Have we got clothes here? That's the reality of what people living with dementia are going through.
"I have a board where there's pictures of us from the beginning. She will suddenly say to me, 'How long have we been together.' I say, '25 years.'
"It's now quite instant, the forgetfulness is quite instant."
Scott explained that one of the most difficult moments was when she recently forgot who he was when he was helping his wife out the bath.
"I think it's when every memory will go. When, on a constant basis, maybe one day Barbara won't know who I am.
"I've had it twice. I was helping her out of the bath and she suddenly looked at me very scared and said, 'Sorry, who are you?' There are no words that can describe it."
Scott previously admitted his "big fear" after the actress' diagnosis was his wife forgetting who he was.
He said: "When Barbara first got this diagnosis my big fear was always, 'What if one day she looks at me and doesn't know who I am?'
Barbara and her husband Scott join Dementia Revolution
After it was announed that Dame Barbara Windsor has been living with Dementia, there has been a huge amount of public love and support for Barbara and her husband. Scott is now planning to run the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for his wife and the millions of people around the world who suffer from dementia.
Speaking in a video, filmed at their home, he said: "I don't know how fast I will run it, but for me it is more about completing the marathon, no matter what the time, to show my support for Barbara and all the other people living with dementia."
Barbara also urged people to take part in the marathon to help make a "stand" against dementia and change the attitudes towards the brain condition.
She said: "I'm asking you to make a stand against dementia.
"Taking part will support ground-breaking research to find a cure for a condition that affects so many people, like me. With your help we can and will end dementia with research."
Heartbreaking news about Barbara’s health
It has been revealed that 81-year-old acting legend, Dame Barbara Windsor has undergone a heart operation after fainting at home. She spent eight days in hospital after having a pacemaker fitted following some dizzy spells and shortness of breath due to the medication she is on for Alzheimer's.
Her husband Scott has revealed that she is now recovering from the operation "really well".
Speaking to the Sun Newspaper, he said, "She’s looking forward to getting out on the town again soon.
"Barbara was suffering from a low heart rate which doctors thought was being caused by some of her medication.
"She was getting very dizzy and short of breath and fainted one day at home, so she had an eight-day hospital spell about four weeks ago and they’ve put in a pacemaker for her.
"But she’s recovering really well."
Following her recovery, Barbara's close friend Christopher Biggins is now planning on taking her out next week.
He said: "I spoke to her last week and I’m going to see her next week. We’re going to go out. She likes to go out because she spends a lot of time indoors.
"She loves The Ivy restaurant. She lives in Marylebone, so there’s lots of lovely restaurants there."
Barbara Windsor's Alzheimer's battle
Fans of Dame Barbara Windsor will be devastated to hear the Carry On and Eastenders legend has sadly been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Barbara's husband, Scott Mitchell has confirmed that the iconic actress has been taking medication to help manage the "cruel disease" but in recent weeks, her symptoms of confusion and memory loss have worsened.
The 80-year-old actress first showed symptoms of the disease back in 2009 when she found it difficult to learn her lines and in 2012, Scott encouraged her to visit the doctor for tests after noticing a "slight sadness" develop in her. Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Barbara's husband Scott revealed how Barbara took the very sad news.
He said: "From the start, I said to Bar, ‘I want you to have these tests because you’re getting a bit forgetful and we may as well just nip it in the bud’. She was fine about it.
"In my mind, I truly hoped it would be nothing. Just a bit of old age, you know?
"But if I’m honest, I had also noticed a slight change in Barbara’s personality. Rather than being her normal positive, bubbly self, it felt like a thin veil had been drawn across her that was more serious.
“At times, I’d see a slight sadness develop that just wasn’t her. I put it down to age, but I now believe it was the very start of this illness.”
"When the doctor told us, 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.' "
Since she turned 80 last August, Scott has noticed that her symptoms are worsening, meaning the disease is more difficult to hide. Her husband of 18-years also hopes speaking out will help others who are affected by Alzheimer's.
He told The Sun newspaper: "I hope speaking out will help other families dealing with loved ones who have this cruel disease. Secondly, I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barbara and she loves talking to them.
"So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they'll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it's due to Alzheimer's and accept it for what it is.
"We're still going out for walks or dinner with friends and we still laugh together a lot. She loves going out and it's good for her - she comes alive. And of course, the public are naturally very drawn to her, which I don't want to stop.
"Unfortunately, I notice she feels a kind of shame about it. There's a vulnerability there and I keep telling her, 'Bar, no one will think you're silly for having this'.
"I explain that if someone has cancer, no one looks at them and thinks 'How ridiculous'. We sympathise and it's the same with this."
Barbara has now retired from charity work as well as acting as a result of the disease.