Alzheimer Society doing its best to serve families who face challenges of dementia

Walk for Alzheimer's event takes place Sunday, May 27 and registration is now open

Randy and Maureen Greer spoke about their experience with Alzheimer's recently.

Any family who has experienced the various stages of dementia, including those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease that is known to progressively destroy brain cells and for which there currently is no known cure, understand how challenging the experience can be.

Thankfully, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, with its local chapter in Sarnia-Lambton, is there to help, with various programs designed to ease the strain (physical and emotional) that comes with dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

But the programs that the local group takes on, lead by CEO Melanie Bouck, are only partially funded by the government.

And that’s where members of the public can make a difference.

On Sunday, May 27, the local Walk for Alzheimer’s takes place at the Suncor Agora in Centennial Park, an event that people like Marie Marcy-Smids, fund development and communications coordinator, says will make a real difference in the organization’s ability to provide services to people like Maureen and Randy Greer.

After working for many years as a long-distance trucker, Randy was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s about two years ago.

To register for the Walk for Alzheimer’s on Sunday, May 27, click HERE.

Maureen, his wife, says the process took about two months for the testing to be done through his local doctor.

While Randy is no longer permitted to drive a transport truck, he considers himself one of the lucky ones in that he can still drive a motor vehicle at this point in the progression of the disease.

Also through his doctor, Randy connected with the Alzheimer’s Society and heard about the programs available. Their adult children were also made aware of those programs and what to expect in the future.

“We’ve been coming to support groups for some time,” said Maureen, who admits she was initially overwhelmed.

“We’ve got this journey ahead of us and we’ve been married 42 years,” she adds. “All of a sudden things have changed so it was a big adjustment but the support groups we both attend have been so helpful. Now I wouldn’t miss it.”

In a short meeting at the Alzheimer’s Society offices, we heard about how Randy has been able to help those who have been more recently diagnosed, giving advice on what to expect along the journey.

But the support that comes through the Society, including support workers who help with staffing of respite care for family members like Maureen, is limited, which is where events like the Walk for Alzheimer’s play such a big part.

Randy says he enjoys the conversations he is able to have with those he meets at his own support group.

One role he plays is helping those who are recently diagnosed as to what they can expect later on.

To register for the Walk for Alzheimer’s on Sunday, May 27, click HERE.

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