Dame Barbara Windsor forgot who her husband Scott Mitchell was "two weeks ago" due to her Alzheimer's disease.
The former 'EastEnders' star's spouse Scott, 54, has been caring for his 81-year-old wife as she lives with the dementia-causing disease ever since she was diagnosed in 2014 and he has revealed that his worst fear became a reality when she had to ask who he was as he helped get her dry following a bath.
Although it was just for a moment, Scott - who first notices changes in his wife's behaviour when she was in her 70s - admits it had a profoundly upsetting effect on him.
In an emotional interview on ITV daytime show 'Loose Women', 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?' And that kind of haunted me, and two weeks ago, you know, that reality came. It was only brief, I was just helping her, she'd got out of the bath and she looked at me and was suddenly apprehensive, her eyes went blank and she went, 'Sorry, who are you?' "
Scott also opened up on the difficult realities of caring for someone with Alzheimer's and the daily challenges that must be overcome.
On rare occasions, Scott admits he struggles to cope with Barbara's repetitive questions and becomes "slightly irritated" and he always immediate regrets it, because he loves the 'Carry On' legend so much.
He shared: "I'm learning as I go along is the honest truth. I never know what's coming next. I've learned different techniques of how I handle things. Obviously, the thing I think that most people who have a loved one with this illness will get is the testing, challenging thing of the repetitive nature of it. For instance, when you're sitting there of an evening and maybe the same question comes at you, however many times, let's see eight to 20 times in one evening, sometimes it's hard to keep that calmness in your voice, to not show that you're slightly irritated. As much as you love someone, you're human and you get to that point where you yourself may have had a day - I've got my own work to do, I'm thinking about Barbara - occasionally I show it. And I'm always mortified afterwards if I show it. I said to Jane in the interview, she won't remember what I've said, but she'll remember how I've made her feel."
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