Alzheimer’s disease is often hidden. It is not the same as fighting cancer. It is a chronic disease that gradually attacks the host. It can be embarrassing both for the caregiver and the host. Although it’s not often discussed, it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held on October 20 by the Alzheimer’s Association to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s support, care, and research. The walk will take place at Trinity United Methodist Church at 8:30 a.m. It is located close to caregiver/sponsor locations.
Julie Roca is the Alzheimer’s Association Central & North development manager. She stated that raising awareness is the best thing.
Next, we must raise concerns, and after raising concerns, people will act. We need to take collective action at this point.
Teams are similar to Relay for Life and created to raise funds before the walk. All of this culminates in the walk. Register your team and set up booths at Trinity Church for the walk.
Roca stated that caregivers have a hard time getting organized to provide better care for loved ones. Many vendors can help with memory care and assisted living.
Roca stated that one in four people is affected by Alzheimer’s disease. It’s so common that everyone should be able to discuss it freely, and it is something that the entire community should share to support each other.
The chapter is aiming to raise $105,000 this year. The chapter will raise $21,000 through sponsorships and $21,000 from fundraising. The Association will receive proceeds, which will support families and conduct research.
Tiffany Nelson, event coordinator of the Gainesville Walk to End Alzheimer’s, said that “I think my favorite aspect [of the walk] was getting to hear everybody’s stories.” “I was able to see all the people affected by the walk, and I wanted to give back.”
Nelson, a 21-year-old microbiology major at the University of Florida, is originally involved in the walkthrough of Sigma Kappa, her sorority. She is a researcher at the Center for Translational Research on Near Degenerate Diseases. This research focuses on Huntington’s Disease (PD), Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s. Because of this, her passion for research drives her to continue working with the organization.
There are many support groups and programs offered by the Alzheimer’s Association for caregivers. Memories in the Making is an art therapy program that allows people with Alzheimer’s disease to create art for their loved ones.
Robert said that “Memories in The Making” helps caregivers the most. He will be referred to only by his first name due to the sensitive nature of the disease. Robert takes care of his wife, who has Alzheimer’s.
Robert stated, “I was very amazed by the skill level she painted the picture.” It was a pleasure for her.
He said that caregiving is a long-term endeavor. The medical profession has done a great job developing and supporting caregiver programs. Although the disease cannot be curbed, caregivers can be helped.
Robert stated that caregivers need to be flexible. “Caregivers need to learn as much about dementia as possible and be prepared for what lies ahead.”
Robert regularly attends the weekly support group for caregivers at North Florida Regional Medical Center. His wife has had dementia for the past ten years. Robert attends weekly support groups at North Florida Regional Medical Center to gain strength and support.
Alzheimer’s disease does not only affect the elderly; people younger than 65 years are more likely to be affected by early-onset Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that five percent of the over 5 million people with Alzheimer’s are affected by early-onset.