How’s That Alzheimer’s Doing?

October 30, 2014

A recent newscast on Public Radio covered a documentary film produced about Glen Campbell.   In 2011, Campbell announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The movie tracks some of his final engagements and openly discusses the fact that he has Alzheimer’s.   The Campbell family hopes that this film will help raise awareness about the disease.

The most memorable aspect of the newscast was when filmmaker James Keach commented that he would routinely discuss Campbell’s condition with him.  Keach said that he would ask the music legend, “How’s the Alzheimer’s coming along?” and, “What’s it like to forget stuff?”  To the latter, Campbell would respond, “It sucks”.

Kudos to Campbell and his family for leveraging his fame to help raise awareness of the affliction.  By publicly admitting he has Alzheimer’s, Campbell sets an example for others … both people who have the disease, as well as their loved ones.

Coming to grips with the fact that you are “losing it” is no picnic.  But trying to ignore it or pretend it’s not happening is not a solution.  While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, steps can be taken to manage the disease, to keep a one safe, to put affairs in order.

We openly talk about our diabetes, our cancer, our hypertension.  Why is it so bad to talk about our Alzheimer’s?  One difference might be that there is no cure.  While it’s possible for someone to get diabetes under control or survive cancer, no one today can say, “My Alzheimer’s isn’t as bad.  My memory’s coming back.”

Someday, hopefully, there’ll be a cure.   To help make that happen, we can be more open about it.  Improved awareness and sensitivity can only help.  Thanks, Glenn for your brave step.


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