Kim Campbell will share her journey as a caregiver for her husband, country music legend Glen Campbell, at the 2019 Argentum conference.
When it was first suggested that Kim Campbell seek help from a senior living community in caring for her husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, it took some time for her to be receptive to the idea.
Married to legendary country musician Glen Campbell, she had already been caring for her husband at home for years with a team that included their children. She’d already gone with her husband on a farewell tour for about two years through the United States and United Kingdom, all the while having their lives and struggles memorialized by filmmakers for the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. She’d already protected her husband from professional autograph hounds—who sought to exploit his condition to sell merchandise on eBay—and endured hurtful tabloid stories about her family.
But still, despite the strength and grace Campbell exhibited as a caregiver for her world-famous husband, the realization set in that Alzheimer’s had taken a toll on the entire family and they all needed help. As keynote speaker for Argentum’s 2019 Senior Living Executive Conference, Campbell will share her experiences as a caregiver, as well as how a memory care community made all the difference in her family members’ lives.
Caring for the Caregivers
Although she was reluctant to get help, Campbell found that working with a memory care community allowed her husband to socialize with others, play and listen to music, and get the specialized care he needed—while giving the family some much-needed respite. And the message she wants other families in the same position to know is that there’s nothing wrong with getting help.
“One reason I continue to speak publicly is because I want to help families. Now that I know what it’s like to go through that, I feel for all these families going through it too,” she said. “I’m very passionate about helping remove the stigma associated with long-term care because when we became part of the memory care community, it helped my entire family.”
One way Campbell believes the stigma can be overcome is by thinking and speaking about the situation in different terms.
“I never say ‘I put my husband in a home’. I say our family joined a memory care community. We became a part of that community; we were with other families who have the same journey and we laughed together, cried together, supported each other, prayed for one another, and I still have a continuing relationship with many of the women whose husbands were in that community today,” Campbell said. “I want people to know that they should never feel guilty about getting that kind of help.”
Since her husband passed away in 2017, Campbell’s journey has been about helping others get the help they need. She founded the Kim & Glen Campbell Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising money for Alzheimer’s research and created a blog at CareLiving.org, where she provides inspiration, community, and resources to caregivers.
Don’t miss Kim Campbell as the emcee of the Argentum Hero Awards, sponsored by Benchmark, and in her role as keynote speaker on the mainstage, Tuesday, April 16.