Glen Campbell Can No Longer Play Guitar, Family Says

Alzheimer’s disease takes many things from from the person exhibiting the symptoms as well as their family. As the disease progresses it takes their memories, their cognitive ability and sense of independence. No one understands this quite like Glen Campbell’s family. In a recent interview with The Tennessean, members of the Campbell family opened up about the GRAMMY-winners progression with the disease, as well as their lives as caregivers.

Ashley Campbell, Glen’s daughter, visits her father as often as possible, bringing along her guitar so she can play him some music. While Glen is no longer able to play a real guitar any longer, the publication reveals, he does pretend to play on his air guitar while he listens to his daughter play.

Ashley, who is pursuing an artist career of her own, plays many songs for her dad, with “You Are My Sunshine” seeming to be a favorite. Once in awhile, Glen, who has lost much of his language skills, will make sounds along with the music. “With persistence,” Ashley shared, “something gets in.”

While Glen isn’t able to communicate much more than an occasional short sentence or sound, his wife Kim insists that he’s still in there somewhere. “… He still has his essence,” she said.

Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011. Shortly after, Campbell and his family embarked on his farewell tour, which was chronicled in the 2014 documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.

“Glen thought that was probably the most important thing he could ever do,” Kim explained of the documentary. “And I think he’s right.”

Glen currently resides in a memory care community near the family’s home in Nashville. Kim visits him daily, with some exceptions while she travels the country speaking on behalf of caregivers who are experiencing the same things she is. Kim also works on her blog careliving.org, which she hopes will encourage caregivers to not get lost in the disease themselves.

“I want to let people know that there’s hope out there, there’s help out there, they don’t have to do this alone,” she concluded.