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Gloucester Kings Theatre patron Prunella Scales diagnosed with Alzheimer's

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 04, 2014

  • Prunella Scales and Timothy West

  • Prunella Scales with John Cleese in Fawlty Towers

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Actress Prunella Scales, who is patron of the Kings Theatre in Gloucester, has vowed to continue performing despite a diagnosis for mild Alzheimer’s.

The 81-year-old star of Fawlty Towers has revealed her struggles with her day-to-day memory emerged last year.

Filming a series for More 4 documentaries with actor husband Timothy West, in which the couple embark on canal boat trips together, the pair opened up about how their lives have changed following Miss Scales’ diagnosis.

Actor Mr West, 79, told how his beloved wife struggles to ‘remember things’ but admitted their canal boat lifestyle allowed her to ‘enjoy things as they happen’.

Living life day-by-day with her doting husband, Miss Scales said in an interview with the Radio Times: ‘I always say I want to die on the eighth curtain call. Eight will mean the show’s been rather a success. I just hope I’m somewhere near the middle and have been reasonably good in the part.’

She said she struggled to remember the year either of her two sons were born, nor when she married Mr West.

She said: “My day-to-day memory is ludicrous, I can’t remember things about life, so you find ways of remembering by writing them down. What was I looking up?

“I don’t know my alphabet, that’s my problem. Inside I feel about 48.”

Speaking about their programme ‘Grand Canal Journeys’ which will see the couple tour four of Britain’s favourite canal journeys, Mr West admitted life on the boat helped cope him cope with his wife’s difficulties.

Describing her condition as ‘a sort of mild Alzheimer’s’ in an interview with the Radio Times Mr West, said: ‘She can’t remember things very well, but you don’t have to remember things on the canal.

‘You can just enjoy things as they happen - so it’s perfect for her.’

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and currently there is no cure for the disease which worsens as it progresses.

Although Alzheimer’s disease develops differently for every individual, there are many common symptoms which include short term memory loss, confusion, irritability, mood swings, trouble with language and long term memory loss.

Many early symptoms go undetected and are often mistakenly thought to be ‘age-related’ concerns or manifestations of stress.

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