"Alzheimer's disease is going to be the number one killer of patients in 30 years as our population ages and we treat other diseases. We don't have a cure for Alzheimer's right now. We don't know what causes it," Sauer said. "Arkansas has an aging population. You look at demographic data in central Arkansas. We have one of the highest per capita rates of senior citizens."
Memory Care of Little Rock at Good Shepherd not only opened its doors for the first time Thursday, it also dedicated an entire art gallery to the legendary Glen Campbell, who is currently suffering from Alzheimer's.
Campbell's wife, Kim Campbell, spoke to those at the Memory Care facility about the realities of caring for someone with Alzheimer's.
"He is physically really strong and healthy, and he is content and cheerful. But he has severe aphasia, so he has lost his ability to communicate verbally," Campbell said. "He doesn't understand anything, [what] anyone says verbally. He doesn't understand anything anyone says to him. It can become dangerous in the home. It was dangerous for me. He became combative, if I tried to bathe him or change his clothes. It was just too hard for me to do it."
The 44,000 square foot facility has 74 beds to fill and plans to provide around the clock service.
"We have always been afraid to talk about it. We have always felt less than powerful. As we have better facilities, we can have more to help our seniors," Sauer said.
"Caring for somebody in the late stages of Alzheimer's is a 24/ 7 job. Really it required more than one person around the clock," Campbell said.
Sauer said Memory Care of Little Rock at Good Shepherd hopes to better help families like the Campbell's live through the disease.
"He wanted to remove the stigma of the diagnosis. If you get the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, that doesn't mean you can't continue living your life," Campbell said.
Memory Care of Little Rock at Good Shepherd hopes to spread more art done by people with Alzheimer's across the country.
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Alzheimer's & Dementia Care center opens & honors Glen Campbell