By: Tonda Ames | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: September 2009
Pictured is a younger-onset team from last year’s Tulsa Memory Walk, Southern Hills Baptist Church’s Chili Peppers.
Today 78 million baby boomers are approaching the age of greatest risk for Alzheimer’s – and finding a cure is more crucial than ever before. To help offer care, support and education, the Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma and Arkansas Chapter is hosting the 17th annual Tulsa Memory Walk on October 3 at Oral Roberts University. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. Teams are forming now.
Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk® funds help us offer care, support and education in communities nationwide for the estimated 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. Dollars raised by walk participants also go toward advancing important research into better treatments and a possible cure.
“Help us move the cause forward. Register as a team captain at www.tulsamemorywalk.com,” said Tonda Ames, vice president of marketing and programs for the Oklahoma and Arkansas Chapter. You can also voice your support by becoming an advocate at www.alz.kintera.org/ okar/newadvocate. “Team involvement and commitment to the Memory Walk are great ways to give back to the community, and build relationships and camaraderie.”
“We invite you and your family, co-workers and friends to sign up, be involved and help the nearly 75,000 Oklahomans living with this disease,” said Paul Langston, special events director for the Oklahoma and Arkansas Chapter. “That number does not include those who have passed away from the devastating effects of the illness or the caregivers who offer themselves as a loving testimony.”
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and you’ll find plenty of parking in the northeast corner of the Mabee Center. Look for the festivities between the Christ Chapel and the Learning Resources Center. They have expanded the food tent this year, and the Broken Arrow Seniors will be serving purple pancakes to get you ready to walk. There will be two scenic walking routes this year through the ORU campus.
The K-9 Crusaders will once again be active this year with their Memory Walk bandanas and more. Pay only $10 and your four-legged friend walks with you.
Why is increased awareness of Alzheimer’s disease so important? The following statistics may help answer that question:
An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s today. Most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 or older, but 500,000 under 65 have Alzheimer's or a related dementia. It is the seventh leading cause of death. One in every eight baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s unless we change the course of the disease – that’s 16 million people by mid-century.
Health care is three times as expensive for people over 65 with Alzheimer’s than those without it. More than 10 million caregivers provide 8.5 billion hours of unpaid care. Fifty-seven percent of these people are employed full or part-time, and two-thirds of these people said they had to go in late, leave early, or take time off because of caregiving.
“Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease for which there is no cure. Our culture is so busy, we tend to pay attention only to problems that are in front of us,” says Tonda. “One of the biggest challenges we see is funding as the numbers of baby boomers increase.”
The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest voluntary health organization in the country with the dual mission of conquering Alzheimer’s disease through research and enhancing care and support for people with the disease, their families and caregivers. The Association provides a 24-hour helpline (1-800-272-3900), support groups, education programs, care consultation, information and referral, and Safe Return (a national program to help find people with dementia who become lost). For more information about Alzheimer’s disease visit www.alz.org.