Walk in Steamboat on Saturday gives people chance to support Alzheimer’s patients, families
1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia
The struggle of an older family member dealing with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is so close to Steamboat Springs business owners Dave and Jodi Terranova that it is almost too hard to put into words.
“It’s close to both our hearts,” Jodi said during a delivery for Paws ‘N Claws.
That is the reason the Terranovas and their store are sponsoring this year’s Yampa Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s with festivities kicking off at 9 a.m. Saturday at West Lincoln Park, 1305 Lincoln Ave.
If participants choose to bring their dogs on a leash to the 1.5-mile walk from West Lincoln Park along the Yampa River Core Trail to Fifth Street and back, the Terranovas will have treats at the ready.
“We are excited about furthering education to help people to know how to cope with a parent with dementia or memory loss and also to support the person’s closest caregiver,” Jodi said. “The more we learn, hopefully the more we can educate ourselves and maybe someday we can find a cure. With everyone participating, that is just one more way to get closer to the goal.”
Even if residents are not on one of the 24 fundraising teams at this year’s Steamboat event, everyone is encouraged to come to walk and make a donation for the cause. Participants should arrive by 9 a.m. or at least in advance of the 9:45 a.m. yoga and stretching class in the park followed by a promise garden ceremony and the walk, said Liz Spencer, development manager for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado.
Dave said his mom and two uncles are battling Alzheimer’s Disease, and he lost his grandmother to dementia.
“It makes me feel like I missed out on a lot more opportunities to spend with them as they age and share life events, things like that were cut short, their ability to watch our kids grow up,” he said. “They miss out and we miss out on the ability to share it with them.”
“Many people we talk to in our age group (late 50s) are dealing with a parent with dementia or memory loss,” Jodi said.
Although new medications that may help slow progression of Alzheimer’s Disease have been released, the couple said their relatives were too far in their disease progression to benefit.
The Alzheimer’s Association encourages families to have conversations about memory loss at the earliest point of concern and then engage a knowledgeable care team to diagnose, monitor and treat disease progression when appropriate. Spencer noted that two drugs, Leqembi and Aducanumab, are now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to slow down progression of the disease.
“These drugs have been developed in large part based on the funding provided by the Alzheimer’s Association,” Spencer noted.
More than 76,000 Coloradans are among the 6.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and the disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 145%, and women make up two-thirds of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and two-thirds of the family caregivers.
In Colorado, more than 160,000 family members and friends serve as unpaid caregivers, providing an estimated 186 million hours of support in 2022.
The goal of this year’s walk in Steamboat is to raise at least $26,000. The local walk is one of 13 across Colorado that organizers hope will raise at least $2.3 million.
The walk proceeds serve as the primary source of funding for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado, which provides information, programs and services at no charge for those who receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and their family and caregivers.
An Alzheimer’s caregiver support group meets at 10:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at Steamboat Springs Community Center. More information is available through Angel Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If walking with friends and dogs doesn’t motivate participation on Saturday morning, startling current statistics may. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and the lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s at age 45 is one in five for women and one in 10 for men, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado and Routt County Council on Aging will present a program on caregiver resilience called “Learn strategies and tools to become a stronger caregiver for those living with dementia” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Steamboat Springs Community Center at 1605 Lincoln Ave. The talk will be presented by Leigh Hull and JoAnne Grace from Northwest Colorado Health.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
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