Since 2011, country music icon Glen Campbell has been living with Alzheimer’s disease. You may have already heard though, since Campbell and his family have been working hard to raise awareness for the disease for several years now. Upon receiving his diagnosis, the Grammy Award-winning singer embarked on a farewell tour with his family, including his wife Kim Campbell, and their three kids Cal, Shannon and Ashley. The tour became the centerpiece of a documentary called Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me, which the family says will offer an uplifting and positive outlook on handling an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The tour ended in 2012, but Kim remembers it fondly as an experience that brought their family closer together. Most importantly, it helped serve her husband’s goal of removing the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. “It’s something people have kept under the covers and felt like they needed to be discrete about, but it’s a disease that affects 5.4 million people in the United States and almost every single family is touched with it, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Kim passionately told ABC News.
Glen Campbell was moved into a long-term care facility in March of last year due to safety concerns, but he continues to bring light into the lives of those around him. “He’s got this little guitar … he picked it up and stood up in the living area in front of some of the residents and he played a couple songs,” Kim said, recalling his first day there. “Then he thanked them all for coming. Then he went over and laid down on the sofa and took a nap. It was so sweet.”
Campbell spends his time playing games, gardening, and participating in scheduled programs. “He’s still got his same twinkle in his eye … he just has trouble communicating now, and of course his memory,” Kim explains. Even though he’s unable to communicate more than a few, short sentences at a time, Glen is still cracking jokes. “We were sitting there eating ice cream cake [for his birthday last month] and he told the punch line to one of his jokes. Then, I told the set up for it. He just laughed and laughed and laughed.”
There are good days and bad days. Having the support of a community has helped Kim exponentially, as well as her husband. “I have been blessed with such a great family… When the doctors advised me Glen would really benefit from being in a support community for people with cognitive issues, I tried it out and it made a big difference for his happiness and his well-being,” she told People Magazine. “We can’t do anything about the disease, but we can try and make life as good as possible. It’s helped me too with my depression, because now my support team is even bigger. That’s given me the peace of mind to be able to go out and speak about it.”
Community can be one of the best gifts you can give yourself during times of stress, and of course following a loved ones’ difficult diagnosis. Freedom Home Care is here to help. Our staff is specially trained to care for the well-being of your loved one and your family and provides care specific to Alzheimer’s. Reach out to us today.