Focus on Aging posted a blog in March of 2012 reporting that music icon Glen Campbell had announced that he was giving his Farewell Tour due to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Many people around the country were very surprised to learn about Glen Campbell’s diagnosis. They were also shocked that Campbell was adding his face to the disease. Other famous people before him had also publicly acknowledged their fights with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias including President Ronald Reagan who was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83.
Today, MSN.com Entertainment wrote a story that Glen Campbell’s wife, Kim Woolen, has publicly announced that last month she and her family made the decision to move Campbell into an Alzheimer’s care facility in Nashville, Tennessee. Campbell is now 77 years old. She explained the challenging role of being a caregiver. She explained that it was now a matter of safety that he be moved into a more secure environment. Woolen tells People, “There were five of us taking care of him and we were all completely exhausted. No one was getting any sleep, and we were just struggling every second to keep him safe — we felt like it wasn’t safe anymore.” Glen Campbell continues to make music and play his songs in his new environment, which is a gift to all.
It is such a heart break when a family member or loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Luckily for Campbell and his family, they were able to go through the journey together when he was still able to make decisions for himself and participate in the decision making.
Once the diagnosis is made, there is the need to make plans for the future. That is easier said than done. There are many steps along the way. Here are some tips from the Alzheimer’s Association’s blog:
- Accept the diagnosis. This is an enormous process. You might want to enlist the help of a social worker or psychologist to help everyone through the progression.
- It is “absolutely necessary” to allow those in the early stages of the disease to take the essential steps to plan for the future.
- Among other planning is the need for estate planning.
- Estate planning is the preparation of wills, trusts, advanced health care directives and basically what everyone wishes to have happen with the assets and possessions once incapacitated or upon death.
- The estate plan should be discussed with the family.
Focus on Aging client, Chicago elder law attorney and author Kerry Peck of Peck Bloom, LLC always recommends that those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their families start the legal and estate planning process as soon as possible after a diagnosis is made. It is important to make decisions before competency becomes an issue. Every day is a gift, but after a dementia diagnosis is made, there is a finite amount of time to have everyday conversations. Make sure all your affairs are in order so you can use this precious time wisely.
For questions related to Alzheimer’s Care Living Communities, Dementia Specialists or Estate Planning, please contact Focus on Aging. We can point you in the right direction.