Alex Preciado, Advocacy, Hispanic Community, Milwaukee
“I don’t just volunteer. It’s a life commitment.”
Alex is a community advocate promoting awareness and education for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. He is adamant that “this is not a common conversation in the Hispanic community and we need to create windows for the conversation.” He has an extensive network in the Hispanic Community and promotes awareness with Hispanic-owned media, businesses and has done outreach with Catholic churches with a large Hispanic population. “My family benefited so much from the resources of the Alzheimer’s Association,” says Alex. “There are a lot of services and people with passion who are there to support families.”
Alex’s mother Julia was living with Alzheimer’s disease for 10 years until she passed in 2016. The family sought assistance from the Alzheimer’s Association, where they were given education and resources. “At the beginning, I denied my mom’s condition and it was very hard,” says Alex. “Her condition had an impact on the whole family and everything changed. It was very difficult and it’s not just the person with Alzheimer’s that suffers; it’s those around them as well.”
After his mother passed, Team Julia – 25 members strong – participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Milwaukee County to honor Julia Gonzalez. While the family was still struggling, they wanted to give back because they had been blessed to receive a lot of benefits. Alex talked with Alzheimer’s staff at the walk and became involved with the organization as an advocate.
“Lack of education is one of the biggest problems in the Hispanic community,” says Alex. There is a lot of ignorance about dementia and it’s very taboo to discuss it.” His family understands how important it is to get more Hispanics involved in the conversation. “Our family benefited so much because we were prepared and took advantage of resources,” says Alex. “Otherwise you don’t know to expect or how to manage it.”