Healthwatch 16: Kim Campbell Talks Alzheimer’s and Caregiving

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SCRANTON -- An event focusing on Alzheimers and caregivers of those who have the disease, is happening Thursday night in Scranton and it features a famous name who knows first-hand.

Kim Campbell is the widow of Grammy-Award-winning musician Glen Campbell, who died this summer.

Ahead of the event, she shared her story.

A 2014 documentary called "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me" gave people an intimate look inside the life of the country music legend. He decided with his family to detail his final tour, after a devasting diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease back in 2011.

Now, a little more than two months after Glen's death, Kim isn't behind the camera, she's out in front, meeting others who have been in her position.

"We really want to conquer this disease that affects 5.6 million people and 15 million caregivers here in the U.S. alone," said Kim Campbell.

Kim Campbell is in Scranton for an event called "Alzheimer's and Caregiving: An Evening with Kim Campbell" which is Thursday evening at the Scranton Cultural Center.

She stopped by Newswatch 16 to talk about her husband and about her experience as his caregiver once he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Something at first, she says, just didn't sink in.

He was a popular, successful, Grammy-award winning artist and she says his first symptoms were what they assumed were typical aging symptoms such as depression and anxiety, and forgetfulness.

"He was shadowing me everywhere I went, didn't want to be away from me, got separation anxiety, all kinds of weird stuff," said Campbell.

"I couldn't even say it! I couldn't repeat it. I couldn't fathom that I was hearing the doctor say it."

Kim says Glen had a couple of good years in the early and middle stages of the disease and notes that he never lost his sense of humor. Now that he's gone, she has ramped up her efforts when it comes to stressing the importance of early diagnosis and clinical trials.

And she has a blog called CareLiving.Org, meant to be a resource and create a community with other caregivers.

"It's good therapy for me because I connect with people around the community going through the same thing. I feel like I'm helping other people and that brings me meaning and purpose from this tragedy."

The event is Thursday night from 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Scranton Cultural Center on North Washington Avenue in Scranton. It's sponsored by Oakwood Terrace and the Bright Focus Foundation. Admission is free.

Part of the event is a panel, which will be moderated by Newswatch 16's Jim Coles

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