Timothy West Prunella Scales Alzheimer’s.

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by jimbo 111, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    I have just read this article and I am sure many members will empathise with the authors sentiments

    Doesn't Prunella Scales deserve a little more dignity, asks AMANDA PLATELL: As actress recedes into the twilight world of Alzheimer’s, her husband makes gives chat show appearance about her condition

    The actor Timothy West fell in love with Prunella Scales long before the rest of us did — for her role in Fawlty Towers — and they have been married for more than 50 years.
    Now, their glorious relationship is reaching a bittersweet denouement as she recedes into the twilight world of Alzheimer’s.
    All those who have a spouse, friend or parent with this disease will have been greatly moved when Mr West, 81, spoke of Prunella’s ‘gradual disappearance’ after being diagnosed a decade ago
    If you live day to day it is manageable,’ he said. ‘It is when you start thinking of the past and you think: “Oh what a shame she can’t do that any more”, or you can’t talk about this any more. Then it is sad.’
    Yet I must confess I was surprised that he was happy speaking so candidly about her condition on a TV chat show when Prunella herself was in the audience.
    He wanted her to be there, he explained. And when the interviewer Piers Morgan later asked if he thought she would mind, West said: ‘Don’t worry about it. She won’t remember.’
    However loving his intentions, that comment cut me to the quick. My mother has Alzheimer’s. I have often seen the confusion and hurt in her eyes when she is dismissed or talked over as though she’s a piece of furniture. She has as much emotional intelligence as ever.
    Occasionally, Dad will say: ‘Mum’s got a bit worse,’ but we never speak about her as though she isn’t present in every sense. Yes it’s difficult when she asks the same question time and again or can’t remember how to get dressed
    But I have discovered is that while Mum may be ‘disappearing’ in some senses, she inhabits a vivid world of her own.
    When I’m home we garden contentedly, she helps me lay the table although she can’t tell the difference between a knife or a spoon, she loves me singing silly songs and adores play-fights with party balloons, as she did when I was a child.
    Afterwards, she laughs and says: ‘Mandy, you are a terrible daughter.’
    That one word ‘daughter’ is the most precious of all — for it’s proof she still remembers who I am. For now.
    There are no books or guidelines to teach you how to cope with someone with advanced Alzheimer’s, as every case is different.
    But disappear? Never. I’ve learned that my mum has another world she often occupies — and it’s up to me to take her hand and walk with her in it.
    The very least dementia sufferers like her and Prunella deserve is to be treated with dignity

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/a...n-t-deserve-little-dignity.html#ixzz3u8qA2czI
  2. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    I read this and thought how easy it was for Amanda Plattel to write this as judge and jury on one comment from Timothy West in an article to be read by thousands,how must he have felt when he read it.. Anyone who has seen his canal journeys with Prunella can see just how much he still adores her. He is with her every day Amanda seems to see her mother with the rose tinted spectacles of someone who doesn't live with her every day. Remember he is an old man too who said out loud which many think,who knows he may have been right,not intentionally disrespectful. Don't be so quick to judge .
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Exactly. He is raising awareness. There should be more stories out there like this.
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I never saw the TV interview but it does sound a bit insensitive to talk like that while she was there, however, how many on here bemoan the fact they can't be honest and open about their actual situation.
    Tim and Pru have done a coupe of TV series about the canals and on them they've both been quite honest about their situation, we too are lifelong boaters and I can identify with their situation. OK he may come across as a bit Old School but at the end of the day it comes from the heart and a lifetime together as partners.
    I'm sure Amanda Platell would be able to manage the situation a lot better as she is just little Miss Perfect, but somehow it is difficult to google her without finding the net full of many articles full of some "controversial"opinions.
    Currently the top comment on the Daily Mail is
    "tonyteehee, Edinburgh, United Kingdom,
    Dignity. You mean not saying a word, putting her in a home and letting her die gently. I think what they are doing is excellent. Showing the world what Alzheimer's or its variations does. More importantly Pru, while suffering is making the most of life while she can. That is dignity in life. She shouldn't be hidden away from view just because some people don't like it. We all die, some suddenly and some slowly, but heaven forbid the need that we have to be hidden away just because we may not look aesthetically pleasing. "
    Likes 1,583 dislike 27, says it all really.
    I could "empathise with the sentiments" or I could just go boating and if anyone asks tell them how it is and let the world see, it's not like it's some dirty little secret.
  5. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    I saw it

    They have a very strong relationship.

    Very open about her dementia right from the start

    They are a team working through this together

    Who has the right to judge whats right and wrong on how they deal with their situation - only them, no one else

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  6. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    I must admit I had no previous knowledge of Timothy West /Prunella Scales TV programmes about dementia , in fact I was not aware that Prunella Scales had Alzheimer’s
    I looked at the article with a ‘ fresh mind ‘
    I looked after my wife for many years , she had had Alzheimer’s as well as other medical problems
    I saw her decline from a very active , proud lady to confused invalid with all the frailties , both mental and physical , that AD causes
    I will never forget the look of hurt and confusion in her eyes when she realised that other people were speaking about her in her presence
    I must agree that making the public more aware of Alzheimer’s
    Is a good thing , and whilst I was not aware of it Timothy West /Prunella Scales programme ,they are helping that awareness
    However I think the point made by Amanda Patell in her article about insensitive remarks is also valid , she was after all not criticizing the programme , but the comment made by Timothy West about Prunella not remembering what he said
    So many times I have seen posts on TP by members angry about the insensitive comments made in front of their loved ones
    Maybe some of them , like the comment by Timothy West’s were said without thought , but I think leaving aside the public personalities involved in this case we need to be cautious when making remarks in front of those suffering with dementia,
  7. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    Isn't the Amanda Platell article a classic case of someone over-generalising from their experience of one person with dementia?
  8. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    I think your view, unclouded by any knowledge of the previous programmes etc. is one I agree with, jimbo.
    Not just because I believe that a person with dementia lives 'in the moment' therefore can be hurt in that particular moment, (or conversely, can experience much joy and self-esteem) but also because the words 'they won't remember' could be taken to a further level in some cases, almost excusing neglect or abuse. (With no reference here the two actors I hasten to add.)
    As much as we like to think we know our loved ones well enough in their dementia, I believe it is misguided to assume we know whether or not they can understand what is being said in their presence.
  9. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    Hello Stanley
    your quote
    "There is no 'they': Everyone is different."
    is appropriate
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I did not see the interview, but I have watched the canal series and Prue is very open about her problems on there. I get the feeling that she is a bit like Terry Pratchett and has some insight into her condition. The pair of them definitely work as a team and part of the remit for the canal program seems to be to raise awareness of dementia.
    Amanda is not an objective reporter and I do wonder if the comment made by Timothy West has been taken out of context. Even if it isnt - well, no one is perfect; who hasnt said things off the cuff that perhaps would have been better unsaid? I applaud the work that both of them are doing.
  11. angecmc

    angecmc Registered User

    Dec 25, 2012
    Personally, I hate it when carers or healthcare professionals discuss my Mum in front of her as if she has absolutely no understanding of what or who they are talking about. There are days when she is very lucid and is totally aware of her surroundings and to a degree what is going on, I see the sadness in her eyes, she can hardly communicate these days, but if she could, I know she would be telling them off. Of course everyone is different and he must have thought about this very carefully before doing it, I hope. It is not something I would have done.

  12. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    I think the thing we all need to remember is the Prues husband is a carer like the rest of us. Many times i have said and done things i have regretted. Often the person asking question does not get how terrible AD is and is dismissing the problem. I had a hosputal doctor say my mum seemed as sharp as a tack because she was lucky enough to be able to answer his question. It asked him to ask her what year it was - she said 1982 - and when she saw his face her eyes were for a few seconds full of hurt. I felt ashamed of myself but he was trivialising her condition and i was angry. We all need a bit of forgiveness sometimes. We all know this is one of the hardest jobs in life.
  13. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    #13 jimbo 111, Dec 13, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
    Thank you for your responses to my post
    Without having any knowledge to the background of the people involved in this article I made the post based on what I read and that they appeared to have practical experience in dealing with Alzheimers through family connections
    I still hold the view that we do need to be careful what we say in front of those suffering with AD
    I take heed of Stanley’s motto “ There is no 'they': Everyone is different.”

    Without the background knowledge that many of you have about the misfortunes of Timothy West and Prunella Scales I looked on the story as I read it

    I am however mindful of these two quotes

    Amanda Patel “ My mother has Alzheimer’s. I have often seen the confusion and hurt in her eyes when she is dismissed or talked over as though she’s a piece of furniture. She has as much emotional intelligence as ever.”

    Piers Morgan said of his interview: “Prunella was in the audience and Timothy wanted her there, yet he wanted to talk about her illness.
    “He said, ‘Don’t worry because she won’t remember.’ Afterwards in the green room, she had no memory of it. It’s heartbreaking.”

    Two different aspects of the same problem

    Stanley’s motto “ There is no 'they': Everyone is different.” comes to mind

    However I am sure that for all our difference of opinion we are all united in our wish that this dreadful disease could be eliminated

    In conclusion I am reminded of the words of one of our members ( No longer with us )who I always classed as my mentor on TP
    She said when there was any disharmony in a thread
    “She said- She replied . Let that be an end to the matter “
    Thank you
  14. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    Yep, I agree with you stanley. I've not heard or read the aforementioned articles, so I'm only going on what I've seen on here, but the comment that, "When I’m home we garden contentedly", suggests that the writer doesn't grasp in any way that mental health problems do not turn an individual human being into a generic dementia problem.
  15. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    I really cannot see how anyone can comment without having read the article and Jimbo has put a link to it in his initial post. Yes, one person's experience of dementia but as valid as the next person's, including that of Timothy West and of everyone on TP.
    We can only comment from our own perspective.
  16. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I think we have read the artical saffie, but the artical alludes to an interview that was screen on Friday (but I cant find a link to it) and there is also the background of programs that they have done together which is not mentioned.

    Here are some other takes on the interview
  17. notsogooddtr

    notsogooddtr Registered User

    Jul 2, 2011
    Ms Platel seems to work to the maxim that if you can't think of anything negative to say about a person you really aren't trying hard enough.Memory loss is a fact of dementia,Timothy West was stating the facts and also expressing his sadness that the woman he is married to and so obviously loves is being slowly lost.We all want dementia to be more visible,the reality of dementia is often heartbreaking.I am very happy that Ms Platel has such rewarding moments with her mum,I hope she never has to experience what my poor father is going through.
  18. Risa

    Risa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
    #18 Risa, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
    I am not a big fan of Amanda Platel as she is very quick to cast negative judgments on those who put their loved ones in a care home. Some of her articles I have found very upsetting and offensive. Her mother is in Australia so she isn't exactly hands-on caring and nor has she given up her job to go and look after her (which is what she expects other to do). I consider her to be one of the "invisibles" who likes to tell others how to do it whilst taking a back seat.

    I feel for Timothy West as with both he and his wife being in the public eye, you could imagine that if he hadn't make her diagnosis public, there might be nasty comments about Prunella in the press insinuating all types of things. No doubt since they are very recognisable, they must get fans approach them all the time.

    Re the comment about Prunella forgetting the show, I thought this was said privately to Piers off-camera and Piers then decided to make this remark public. I remember reading his comment a couple of months ago in a column and thought it was poor taste to have repeated it but then I am no fan of Piers Morgan either.

    I have recently watched a documentary on singer Glen Campbell. It is very warts and all but extremely moving and his family are very keen to educate people on the disease. I admire him for being very public with his condition, I was amazed that he was able to do one last tour with his family supporting him.
  19. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    In fairness, Piers Morgan repeated what Timothy West had said as it was in response to the former's concern that Prunella was going to be in the audience when he was discussing her dementia.
    That's the main thrust of Jimbo's post as I understand it, not him saying that she would forget it anyway. Apologies Jimbo if I have misunderstood.

    My reaction is that we cannot know how others feel and I would have never discussed my husband in front of him.
    However, it is just the way I feel and others are of course free to see things differently.
    Each to their own.
  20. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I found the interview on ITV Player and watched it.

    I thought the questions about Purues dementia were answered honestly and sensitively. He stated explicitly that both he and Prue wanted to be open and honest about Prues dementia and it showed a clip where Prue was talking about her dementia. She obviously still has capacity and I really dont think that this is the same scenario as talking about people in front of them without their consent or understanding which upsets them.

    The comment about her not being able to remember the interview does not appear and was obviously said later - in what context I do not know.

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