Timothy West, husband to well-loved ‘Fawlty Towers’ actress Prunella Scales has spoken candidly about how her dementia has affected their lives on a daily basis. He admitted that he is having to adjust to her rapidly deteriorating memory and often finds himself having to repeat sentences to Prunella because of this dysfunction in her short-term memory. She spoke of her worry that it must be ‘boring for Tim’ because now everything takes her more time.
Timothy’s first disclosure about her disease was just over a year ago when he revealed on a TV show with Piers Morgan that she had developed a mild form of Alzheimer’s. Piers’ concerns that Prunella was sitting in the audience at the time of the interview were brushed aside by Timothy, who declared that she wouldn’t remember anything that was being said afterwards. The chat show host was shocked and saddened, describing the disease as ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘awful’, adding that Timothy was an ‘utterly selfless and fantastic’ husband.
Sons’ Births | Memory Blank
In 2013, Prunella had admitted to a newspaper that she was struggling with her memory to the point that she couldn’t remember if she had just made herself a cup of coffee and couldn’t recall the years her sons were born. However, the couple went on to record the successful ‘Great Canal Journeys’ later that year, which included gentle banter between the two in reference to her illness as they navigated their way along Britain’s canals in a narrowboat.
Her failing memory was first noticed by Timothy around 15 years ago when he watched Prunella struggling to remember her next line in a play. When she eventually went for tests, the doctor diagnosed it as a vascular condition rather than anything to do with a dementia. Over the years her condition deteriorated and she has now been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s and is unable to recall much of her 53-year marriage.
The couple have not, as yet, needed the support of any dementia groups or therapies such as Alzheimer’s Society, mainly due to time constraints – Timothy still works regularly but admitted that he relies heavily on their ‘marvellous live-in housekeeper and carer’ for when he is away from home. The pair will be appearing on screens in March 2016 for a new series of ‘Great Canal Journeys’.
Coping with Dementia
If you have a loved one experiencing similar symptoms to Prunella, why not take a look at our Reminiscence section. Here you can find specially selected Reminiscence Boxes that are filled with items from the past to encourage anyone with Alzheimer’s to handle them and recall treasured memories that can be shared and discussed with family members. With two to choose from, we also offer a Reminiscence Toy Box that is sure to evoke happy memories of childhoods past.