Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell opens up on the heartbreaking decision to move the EastEnders legend into a care home

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  • For fans of Dame Barbara Windsor, watching the iconic actor’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease from 
afar has been difficult.

    But her husband Scott Mitchell has confessed he feels like he’s lost his wife – after making the agonising decision 
to move her into a care home.

    Scott, 57, was forced to bring in carers for Barbara, 83, during lockdown as her condition got worse and, at an appointment with a specialist, he was told his wife would soon need full-time care from professionals. But, after making the heartbreaking move, Scott has confessed their home feels empty without the former EastEnders star.

    He said, ‘I have been used to hustle and bustle in this little space, then suddenly, silence… All you can hear are your thoughts, and that’s not always healthy.

    ‘I feel I’m on an emotional roller 
coaster. I walk around, trying to keep 
busy, then burst into tears. It feels like 
a bereavement.’ Shortly after 
his appointment with the specialist, Scott spoke to Ross Kemp – who played Barbara’s on-screen son Grant Mitchell in EastEnders – for the documentary Living with Dementia, and confessed 
that hearing the news was 
his biggest fear.

    He said, ‘It’s the thing I’ve always feared. 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. There’s another part of me which can’t imagine letting her go.’

    Read more: Barbara Windsor opens up about her decision not to have children

    Scott, who has been married to Barbara for 20 years, revealed the Carry On star has struggled to settle into the care home. He told The Sun, ‘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.

    ‘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 well-being. I am no different 
to millions of other people who would 
have experienced this.’

    Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in April 2014 but didn’t reveal the news to the public until May 2018. She later made an appearance to urge fans to run the 2019 London Marathon to raise money for research into Alzheimer’s and dementia. She said, ‘I’m asking you to 
take a stand against dementia. Support ground-breaking research to find a cure for a condition that affects so many 
people, like me.’

    Her last public appearance was in September last year, when she met 
with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 
10 Downing Street to discuss reforming 
the dementia care system.

    Barbara Windsor with Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street

    Barbara with Boris Johnson | Getty

    Showing some of her cheeky spark, Barbara told the PM, ‘Give me a kiss and better dementia care,’ as she went in for 
a peck on the cheek.

    Since Barbara’s move to the care home, both she and Scott are trying to get used 
to not seeing each other all the time. Discussing the day he left her, Scott said he’ll ‘never forget the feeling of emptiness’.

    He added, ‘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.’