BY LORIE LIEBIG
In 2011, country legend Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Shortly after, he went on a national farewell tour to perform for his fans one last time.
Since then, updates on his health have been relatively few and far between.
During a phone call with Broadway’s Electric Barnyard at K92.5 FM, Campbell’s wife, Kim, shared details of how the disease is affecting the 79-year-old.
“Well, it’s been several years now since we ended our tour, at the end of 2012, and the disease is marching on,” Kim said. “He’s in late stage six, out of seven stages. So, he’s healthy physically. He’s very cheerful. He has Aphasia, so that means he’s lost the ability to communicate verbally. He doesn’t really understand anything anyone says to him. He’ll still say short phrases like ‘I love you,’ ‘where you been?’ You know, I’ve been married to him 32 years, so I just intuitively know what he needs, what he’s trying to communicate to me.”
Kim says trying to take care of her husband has been a challenge in some ways. Campbell was recently moved from an Alzheimer’s care center back into his own home. “He lives at home with us,” she said, “and we just try to find joy in each day, with smiles and hugs and kisses.”
Even though it has been comforting to have him back in his own home, it comes with its own set of struggles.
“It’s been challenging,” Kim said. “He punched me in the eye. Gave me a black eye (laughs). I had a black eye for two weeks. You know, it’s just really hard to cope with. I don’t know, you know?”
“It’s challenging because sometimes he can be combative if you’re trying to help him get bathed or change his clothes or something. That’s typical of a lot of people with Alzheimer’s, so that’s an ongoing challenge, but just take it one day at a time.”