‘No shame’ in living with Alzheimer’s

It’s often called “the silent killer.”

Alzheimer’s is a disease that attacks the brain, and over time shuts down all of the body’s motor skills, memory, and senses.

One man is made his fight against it public, and helped people across the country.

He was everyone’s favorite Rhinestone Cowboy.

Glen Campbell was one of music’s most successful and diverse entertainers. Campbell recently lost a tough battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“What Glen went through, I’ve seen it for years. It’s classic, it’s declination down through stages and all the while they’re still human beings,” Emmet White, President and CEO of the Arcadia Family of Companies said.

Many Americans learned about Alzheimer’s from Campbell, who documented his fight in the award-winning documentary “I’ll Be Me.”

Residents at Arcadia and 15 Craigside watched the movie in May of 2015.

“Very positive experience for them. I think it simply affirmed for them, the tough journey that lay ahead.” White said. “He touched many lives. I think one of things it did that was helpful – no shame.”

Staying mentally and physically active can be a challenge, especially when the disease is robbing someone of their mind and body.

“Even in the worst of times, and we all try to do it, is that there is that sense of humor. That laughing at oneself with oneself, but also relaxing those around that are uncomfortable and deep down all of us worrying could this happen to me?” White said.

Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s, and more than 5 million Americans are living with it.

By 2050 that number could be as high as 16 million.

Sadly, 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

“Sobering statistics. They’re frightening but they’re real,” White said.

But knowing how to communicate with a loved one with Alzheimer’s can help them navigate the daily tasks of life so they can stay safe and alert.

“How can we make the best of it as fellow human beings?” White asked.

And live comfortably with dignity.

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