Bethesda team members laced up their walking shoes last week and hit the pavement to help put an end to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dozens of Bethesda employees and family members came together Sept. 28 to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Robbin’s Island Park, Willmar. Even though it was a chilly day, the Alzheimer’s Association organizers offered a warm welcome and led a heartfelt ceremony honoring those who are living with Alzheimer’s and those who have died from the degenerative brain disease.
Seeing the large number of people make their way along the walking path while carrying a pinwheel-style Promise Garden flower provided hope a cure would be found. The color of each flower represents people’s connection to the disease:
- Blue – someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Purple – someone who lost a loved one to the disease.
- Yellow – someone currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Orange – everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association’s goal is that one day a person will carry a white flower – representing the first survivor of Alzheimer’s.
The Walk, which takes place in more than 600 communities, is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. This is important, as every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.
Closer to home, more than 97,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s in Minnesota, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. By 2025, it is estimated that number will be surpass 120,000 people.
Alzheimer’s can be relentless, but so are we. By coming together, we can be a force for change. The Willmar Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised more than $38,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. Bethesda works with organizations such as the Willmar Stingers, West Central Dementia Awareness Network, and West Central MN Walk to End Alzheimer’s to try to strike out Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Bethesda teamed up with the Willmar Stingers baseball team on Aug. 4 for our Memories Matter Night. At the game, Bethesda staff made their pitch to game-goers about Bethesda’s services and other community resources that are available.
Bethesda offers support to those living with Alzheimer’s – and their loved ones – in a variety of ways, including:
- Alzheimer’s Support Group – Bethesda’s Alzheimer’s Support Group is for family and friends of those experiencing difficulties with Alzheimer’s and memory loss so they can share and discuss topics. The group meets at 3:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at Brother’s Café + Bistro inside Bethesda Grand, 901 Willmar Ave. SE. For more information, go to http://bethesdawillmar.com/events/
- DayBreak – Bethesda’s DayBreak program is an adult day-services and wellness program designed to create a safe, secure place for those who have Alzheimer’s or dementia to come for the day, while giving a respite to the loved ones caring for them. To learn about a complimentary day or to register for the program, call 320-235-4891. For more information, go to http://bethesdawillmar.com/services/adult-day-care/
- Memory Care at Grand – The Memory Care neighborhood, located on the Bethesda Grand campus in Willmar, is designed to meet the needs of people with memory impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. For more information, go to http://bethesdawillmar.com/senior-living-options/memory-care/
- Forget-Me-Knot Memory Café – If your family is living with the realities of memory loss, consider joining the Forget-Me-Knot Memory Café from 2 to 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at the Willmar Public Library. For more information, visit www.wcdan.com/index.php/memory-cafe/
- West Central Dementia Awareness Network – WCDAN is driven to cultivate dementia-friendly, dementia-capable They work together to develop communities that are knowledgeable about, and welcoming toward, people living with dementia. For more information, visit www.wcdan.com/
As people age, memory loss happens. However, there is a difference between typical, age-related memory changes and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, and it leads to problems with memory, thinking and behavior. If you or someone you know is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends seeing a doctor soon to determine the cause.
The services that Bethesda and the Willmar community provide are important, as we all work together to put an end to Alzheimer’s. We will continue to work together and walk this journey together because memories matter.
For more information about Bethesda’s programs, please call our Welcome Center at 320-214-5643.