With 76,000 Coloradans living with Alzheimer’s disease and another 156,000 loved ones serving as their unpaid caregivers, you don’t have to look too far to find someone affected by the sixth-leading cause of death.
That’s the case at the Eagle Valley Family Practice/Valley View Hospital (EVFP), which is sponsoring the Sept. 26 Vail Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Having lived with and cared for someone with Alzheimer’s for more than two years, Nancy Kraft, registrar for EVFP, understands the challenges posed by the disease. She also has three family members currently living with dementia, and recently lost a brother-in-law to frontal lobe dementia.
As for Rachel Orton, licensed social worker/behavioral health provider, she has worked as a social worker in a locked dementia unit and activities coordinator at an assisted living facility. Every year, there would be trainings on dementia and Alzheimer’s, and Rachel saw how it impacted the patients and their families.
And the arrival of COVID-19 has made caregiving even more challenging for everyone: those afflicted by the disease, personal and professional caregivers.
“Alzheimer’s has been with us for years,” said Orton. “Even though COVID-19 has affected many families, the struggle will continue until we find a cure for the family and caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s.”
Because the coronavirus puts people with Alzheimer’s at higher risk, the Eagle Valley clinic continues to stay closely involved with those individuals living with the disease as well as their caregivers.
At the same time, the clinic staff and the Alzheimer’s Association remain in close contact.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is a huge help and our go-to for all our patients with dementia: locally for resources, both medically and caregiver support; national as an educational tool,” Orton said.
So when it comes to getting involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Orton and Kraft have a very simple message: “Do you care for someone…do you know someone…do you love someone with Alzheimer’s? Then come walk with us for Alzheimer’s.”
To join or donate to the Eagle Valley Family Practice team at the 2020 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, click here
The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.