I’m still here but yet I’m gone
you’re the last person I will love
you’re the last face I will recall
and best of all … I’m not going to miss you
I’m never gonna know what you go through
all the things I say or do
all the hurt and all the pain
one thing selfishly remains .. I’m not gonna miss you
Legendary Musician Glen Campbell wrote this song after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and knew his family was going to have difficulty caring for him. His description is real. If you’ve been through an Alzheimer’s or Dementia patient journey, this song will make you cry. Because you know the pain and the very awkward moment when a loved one looks right at you and doesn’t recognize you. I experienced this with my own mother who battled many issues, including Dementia. My family members, who visited frequently, all had to deal with this reality.
With this disease, forgetfulness is a trademark and it can progress to the point of incoherence. As Glen alludes to in his swan song, Dementia diseases put significant stress on the family members doing the caregiving. They give so much of themselves and in the most extreme of ironies, their patients might not even know it. The rest of the family knows, but the patient is in a fog.
June is Alzheimer’s Awareness month. Maybe you’ve seen the billboards with Samuel L. Jackson holding a sign, “For my family.” During the month of June, the Alzheimer’s Association asks people around the world to take the Purple Pledge and use their brains to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
At Outpatient, these dedicated caregivers are the people we call Family Champions. They are the family caregivers, who will drop everything to care for a family member. They expect nothing in return, except for maybe some assistance from other close family or friends when possible. (see Pass The Torch).
Outpatient, Inc is a mobile software startup with a mission to simplify health experiences for families. We’ve been in early stage user testing for a few months and our goal is to launch more broadly later this summer. The product is designed to help families with the coordination and logistics of caring for their loved ones.
We want to help Glen’s wife Kim, and my family, and all the other Family Champions who courageously lead their families and help their patients. And if you haven’t noticed – just about everybody is a Family Champion. Just about everybody will go through periods of helping family members or close friends and feel the stress of not knowing how. Outpatient is here to help you.
The one part of Glen’s song that I do disagree with just a little bit? And I know it’s a pun, but he will miss Kim. He will definitely miss her. In those, maybe rare, moments of clarity – he remembers and tells her “Thank You.” Those moments happen too. When my mother remembered and told my sister, “Thank You,” it made us so happy and cry all at the same time. It made all the sacrifice worthwhile.
You know the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a kid.” Well, it takes a village to help a patient too. Family Champions and all families helping patients make the biggest difference of all. For those dealing with Alzheimers and other Dementias, we say … #WhosYourChampion #BeAChampion #FamilyChampion #GetOutpatient #GOPURPLE #ENDALZ #EndAlzheimers