BY KAYLEE DUFF
The Breakthrough Benefit is a night full of inspiring stories, live music and a research update by a leading Alzheimer’s researcher — all in honor and celebration of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission to expand research, awareness, care and support.
Did you know that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death and the most expensive disease in the United States? Did you know that over 50 million people across the globe are living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia? Do you really know what Alzheimer’s is?
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia (which is a blanket term to describe symptoms associated with memory loss and declining thinking skills) that causes issues with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of memory loss, and symptoms generally occur slowly over a long period of time. Those symptoms are progressive, and get worse as time goes on — leading to severe symptoms such as intense disorientation; deepening confusion about time and place; unfounded suspiciousness towards caregivers, family and friends; very serious memory loss; and difficulty doing things such as swallowing, speaking or walking.
What’s worse? There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Like many diseases, people who haven’t yet come in contact with Alzheimer’s are generally unfamiliar with the warning signs and symptoms. This is where the Alzheimer’s Association comes in — spreading awareness, supporting research and providing resources.
The official Alzheimer’s Association website reads: “Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.”
The Alzheimer’s Association was established in 1980 by founding president, Jerome H. Stone, after his wife was diagnosed with the disease in a time where information about Alzheimer’s was extremely limited. Since its inception, the Association has grown to reach millions of patients, caretakers, family and friends who are affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. They are the leading voluntary organization in Alzheimer’s research, support and care.
One way that the Association raises money and awareness for the disease is through fundraising events. On April 18, the Central Ohio chapter is bringing live music, delicious cocktails, inspiring stories, and a research update by leading Alzheimer’s researcher and Alzheimer’s Association Director of Scientific Programs and Outreach Dr. Keith Fargo to their Breakthrough Benefit at Express Live!
The Breakthrough Benefit is honoring and celebrating the fact that it only takes one breakthrough to change a life. It’s a night about sharing, perseverance and hope.
Breaking Through: For Dave And Tim
Dave and Tim are just one couple who benefit every day from all the resources and support that the Alzheimer’s Association has to offer. The couple met online before online dating was even a thing. Dave was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about three years ago, but the pair had been noticing symptoms for as many as five years.
Tim, Dave’s caretaker and partner of 24 years, explained how the Alzheimer’s diagnosis has had an impact on their daily lives. “It was a struggle of going through that diagnosis with him. Trying to make sure he still gets out, sees his friends, gets to the gym, does his normal routine.”
“He had to stop driving last March, which was probably one of the hardest things for him and me as well. It took away a lot of his freedom,” Tim continued.
Around that time, Tim and Dave started reaching out for resources — and came into contact with the Alzheimer’s Association. Dave eventually agreed to attend one of the Association’s patient support groups, because he “felt it might help him to be around other people who are in the same situation he’s in.” Tim and Dave also use the Alzheimer’s Association’s knowledge on options for other crucial things, such as transportation.
“They have just so many resources they can help you with. They also have programs there that you can get the Alzheimer’s patient involved with, so they’re around other people, which keeps them engaged and keeps their mind going,” said Tim. “And not just from the patient standpoint, but also the caregiver standpoint. Being around other people that are in the same situation, realizing you’re not the only person going through this, realizing everyone has the same concerns has been powerful.”
To support families like Dave and Tim, register to attend the Breakthrough Benefit at alz.org/centralohio/events/2019-breakthrough-benefit.
Know the warning signs. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org/centralohio to learn more.
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