Wyoming Alzheimer’s Association Head Praises Glen Campbell
Campbell died of the disease on August 8.
Janet Lewis says the singer’s decision to be open about his struggle with Alzheimer’s not only helped raise awareness of the disease, but also was useful in erasing the stigma sometimes associated with Alzheimer’s.
Lewis says in the 1960s there was a similar stigma about cancer, with people being afraid to talk about the disease. She said in both cases ”There is nothing that you did that caused you to get the disease.”
Lewis says the “perceived shame” of Alzheimer’s can be a roadblock to people seeking treatment and making preparations for their personal affairs in light of a disease that eventually will rob them of their ability to effectively function.
Lewis also says the fact that Campbell for example, was still able to play his guitar even in the advanced stages of dementia highlights one of the typical facets of Alzheimer’s. She says as the disease progresses, people tend to regress and “remember the things they learned much earlier in life.”
In Campbell’s case, that meant that since he had learned to play guitar at a very young age, he retained that skill even after memories of his life in later years disappeared.
While there are drugs that can slow the progression of the disease, Lewis says so far there is no cure.