Glen Campbell and Alzheimer’s Disease

Photo credit: glencampbell.com

The music industry lost a bit of sparkle recently with the passing of the “Rhinestone Cowboy”, Glen Campbell, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.  Since the 1960’s, Campbell performed music that was one of the first to cross from country to pop.  While Campbell was talented and successful, Alzheimer’s Disease does not discriminate based on a person’s status, wealth or popularity.

Campbell announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011.  His family has stated that in the past few years he had lost his ability to communicate.  According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, it is common for a person with Alzheimer’s in the last year of life to have very little verbal output, be completely dependent for all aspects of daily living and deal with episodes of aspiration and infections.

Though people do not die directly from Alzheimer’s disease, in late stages brain cells begin to die and other systems in the body begin to weaken or shut down. Individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually, to control movement.

The Alzheimer’s Association publication 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, showed that one in 10 Americans over age 65 has some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. By 2050, more than 88 million Americans will be 65-plus. That’s almost double the current population of 48 million.

After Campbell’s Alzheimer’s disease announcement, he embarked on a “Goodbye Tour” to continue doing what he loved for as long as possible.  “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me” is a documentary that followed Campbell on his tour and exposed the progress of his disease. The song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was written for the tour, and the lyrics “I’m still here, but yet I’m gone” perfectly describe the devastation Alzheimer’s takes on the individual.  “I’m never gonna know what you go through/All the things I say or do/All the hurt and all the pain/One thing selfishly remains/I’m not gonna miss you” accurately, and sadly, depicts the struggles of those who love and care for those with Alzheimer’s.

And so, as in the title of his farewell album, we say “Adios” to Glen Campbell.

 


Sources:
http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2017/08/08/glen-campbell-rhinestone-cowboy-singer-dead-81-country-music/550274001/
https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/features/alzheimers-disease-and-end-life-issues
http://alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp
http://www.metrolyrics.com/im-not-gonna-miss-you-lyrics-glen-campbell.html
http://www.glencampbell.com/

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