Glen Campbell's Wife, Kim, Opens Up About His Final Years

Glen Campbell's family endured a long, painful goodbye to the country music icon, who passed away on August 8, 2017. The singer, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011, spent the last couple years of his life in Abe's Garden, a residential memory care facility located in Nashville, Tenn.

"In-home care was out of the question because I already had a team and it wasn't working for us," Glen's wife, Kim, tells Parade. "Glen needed a specialized environment with people trained to take care of him."

Glen toured through the end of 2012, struggling off-stage but coming alive as soon as he began to perform. But when his Alzheimer's progressed to the point that it was no longer feasible for him to stay on the road, Kim attempted to care for him at home, along with their son Shannon, daughter Ashley, Ashley's friend Amanda and Kim's nephew Matthew, who took turns in teams of two staying with him.

But when Glen became volatile, tearing cabinets off of the wall in anger after Kim installed child-proof locks, she knew she was no longer able to keep him in their home.

"This was a 6-foot-tall strong man and we lived on a busy street," Kim recalls. "I fenced the back property. I sectioned off the stairs so he wouldn't fall. I tried to protect him any way I could, but I was at my wit's end."

"None of us had quality of life," she adds. "Glen didn't. The kids didn't. I didn't. We were trapped by Alzheimer's."

The decision to move Glen to Abe's Garden was not an easy one, and made even more difficult by people's perception of her decision to relocate Glen.

"I didn't just put Glen anywhere," Kim contends. "Our family joined this community. I know these people, I know their families. It was such a blessing to us, to have that peace of mind that no matter what time of day it was, Glen was being checked on and cared for and loved."

Although Glen eventually lost his ability to speak, his days were pleasant and peaceful even to the very end. The day before his death, a violinist and cellist from the Nashville Symphony began to play in a common area near Glen's room.

"We opened the doors so the music would flutter into his room," Kim recalls. "He had his family holding his hand, he had music filling the room. It was beautiful, tranquil and serene."

One day later, on August 8, Glen passed away. He was 81 years old at the time of his death. But Kim refuses to let the pain she experienced be in vain. The 60-year-old started a support group for people who have spouses battling Alzheimer's, and started a blog, CareLiving.org, to offer help to others in a similar situation that she endured.

"I know how harshly this disease impacts families," she says. "People were there for me so I want to be there for them. We're walking through this together."

More information on help and support for those with a loved one with Alzheimer's can be found at alz.org.

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