Even if you’re not a fan of Country Western music, you may still have heard of legendary country singer Glen Campbell. And, if you are
a fan, this may be your last chance to catch one of his performances. Campbell is currently on his final tour, solemnly dubbed the "Goodbye Tour."Why is He Saying “Goodbye”?
The tour is a culmination of events that began last summer, when Campbell announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease
six months prior. For years, Glen Campbell had been suffering from short-term memory loss, though no other symptoms had shown through.
When he was finally diagnosed, many attributed the disease to his long history of alcohol addiction. While there are no concrete links or connections between alcohol consumption and Alzheimer's, heavy alcoholism
can definitely have both immediate and long-term negative effects on the brain, as well as other neurological functions. The Family Factor
So, if he’s suffering from this awful disease, how can he possibly go on stage and perform like he used to? Well, for his last tour, Campbell enlisted the help of his three children, who are joining his band as backup musicians.
As you may have noticed, most articles and reports dealing with Alzheimer's usually focus on the victim
of the degenerative disease. But what about the family members who are also being affected by the disease? How are their lives being impacted?
The initial changes in family dynamics occur when the first signs of Alzheimer's are spotted. Some symptoms of dementia include frequent confusion, lack of a short-term memory, attention problems, changes in personality, unexplained mood swings and difficulty speaking. Whether you are noticing these symptoms in your husband or wife, or maybe your mother or father, the possibility of Alzheimer's is hard to swallow. Increased stress, worry, sadness, and the many visits to the doctor that follow the initial observations will all take their toll on the patience of any family member involved in the care of the patient. Planning for the Future
As mentioned above, caregiving and any needed legal procedures can place a tremendous stress on family members impacted by an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. But there are a few proactive steps you can take to lessen the burden. The first thing you need to get out of the way is settling the Power of Attorney. You will need to determine who will be responsible for end of life decisions
, including life-or-death choices should the situation arise. The last thing you need is encountering a situation where it isn't clear who has the final say on whether or not to pull the plug or continue providing care.
Also, it may be helpful to “divide and conquer” certain duties related to your loved one’s developing needs. The amount of care required will increase over time, and in an effort to reduce additional stress on the family, sharing responsibilities will greatly benefit everyone. Decide on who is caring for the patient in their home, if you will alternate homes for them, and how regularly you will have meetings to discuss things like doctor’s appointments, new care instructions, or medications.
Luckily for Glen Campbell, he has a strong following comprised of fans and supporters, and his family seems to be coping well with his diagnosis. When Campbell sang "Rhinestone Cowboy" as a farewell to his fans at the 2012 Grammy Awards Ceremony, it was a touching moment that accentuated the importance of loving support and the finality of Alzheimer's disease. Cited Sources
"Alzheimer's Caregivers." NIH.gov
. Medline Plus, n.d. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/alzheimerscaregivers.html>.
"What Is Alzheimer's?" ALZ.org
. Alzheimer's Association, n.d. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp>.
"Alzheimer's Disease." NIH.gov
. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001767/>.