Alzheimer’s walk raises awareness, money

Constant rain did not stop Sunday's walk.
Photo submitted by Rikki Bell.

The Alzheimer’s Project held its annual Forget Me Not Walk at Cascades Park on Sunday.

Even though it was a rainy day the event still had a successful outcome. The event featured a bounce house, food trucks, Kona Ice, Mt. Dew Cloggers and more.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to get in the way with daily tasks.

The Alzheimer’s Project provides support and assistance to people with memory disorders and their caregivers across the Big Bend. The Alzheimer’s Project is a non-profit organization funded by grants and donations.

“I wanted to be involved in a local non-profit and when I saw the ad for the Alzheimer’s Project it really struck me that this is something that is often overlooked and this is something I wanted to be involved in,” said Debbie Maroney, executive director.

The organization provides a respite program for caregivers to stay emotionally and physically healthy. Caregivers are at risk for social isolation, physical illness and financial problems. The respite program keeps Alzheimer’s patients socially engaged through different activities.

This enables caregivers to improve their knowledge and techniques on taking care of their loved ones with training classes and seminars. This also helps caregivers focus on their life through support groups.

“Nobody in my family has Alzheimer’s but I know that loved ones and caregivers go through so much, but this is what’s coming up in life. It’s just the things that you to plan for,” said Betsy Gingery, office manager.

The risk of Alzheimer’s is higher for African Americans than among whites. The estimate is ranging from 14 percent to almost 100 percent higher. African Americans are diagnosed at later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, which limits the effectiveness of treatments that depend upon early intervention.

Studies show that high cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s will continue to spread over the next 30 years, as African Americans entering the age of risk doubles to 6.9 million.

“I was inspired to join this organization as a volunteer due to my cousin, the late Colonel Herbert Parker, and my uncle, Sam Wead, of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Later, I learned that African Americans have a high rate of becoming Alzheimer’s patients,” said Ann Kimbrough, volunteer.

There is no exact cure for Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Project welcomes all volunteers. The Alzheimer’s Project offers free services to all patients and caregivers.