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And Welcome back to answers for elders. Everyone, we are here with our wonderful Bob Leroy, who is the Chapter President of Washington and Idaho for the Alzheimer’s Association. Bob, welcome to the program. Thank you. Please see be here. Well, I’m glad you’re here too, because there’s a big event that is about to be happening in on the well in Seattle the twenty four of September and then obviously all throughout greater puget sounds we have walks going on to raise money for Alzheimer’s awareness. We do, we actually do a total of sixteen walks throughout Washington state and northern Idaho. Most of them are in September, couple in October. Huh. The one you’re referring to is coming up on September twenty four. Will be at the mural amphitheater at Seattle Center for our Pacific northwest walked and Alzheimer’s. That is amazing. That is amazing and and just really about the Alzheimer’s Association. You guys are such a bedrock of what is. You know what a resources for this community and what we can do and you know the most recent statistics blow my mind, which you shared in the last program about one and three deaths now are going to be attributed to complications from Alzheimer’s. Is that correct? Well, it’s really, in our view, nothing less than a public health epidemic. Here in Washington state, Alzheimer’s disease is the third leading age adjusted cause of death. It’s affecting about a hundred tenzero folks in our state who are living with it or some form of dementia, and they’re being cared for by over three hundred fiftyzero individuals, mostly unpaid family members. So the impact, yes, the impact of the disease in our state is significant and growing rapidly. You know that when you think of three Hundredzero people taking care of somebody with Alzheimer’s, plus another hundred and some thousand which is Lee afflicted with the illness, it’s like there can’t be an individual in this area that isn’t does not know someone, or that has not been touched by it. It’s so overwhelming. Well, there may be, but there are far fewer people who have not been touched by the disease with each passing year. And one of the things that is so important to us about our walks is they are a great way for us to get out in the community with our message of help and hope. Well, and that’s the thing. And there is hope because, although there’s not a cure yet, is what you have shared with us, there are a lot of breakthroughs that are happening and it’s because of US coming together and providing donation so that this kind of research and this kind of these kind of breakthroughs can happen. So if you support the walk, I’m how what are ways in which people can support the walk in their community? Well, by helping US raise money and by participating walk. The walk is a very important fundraiser for us. We actually raise about a third of our operating budget every year from our walks and, as I say, the walks are also a great way for the community to come together to support one another and us. We really enjoy and, frankly, are inspired by the way people come together on walk days from all around the state and in fact there’s an almost reunionlike quality to it to people come and support the walks to honor the lives of their loved ones. Some of them keep coming over many, many years and there is a real sense of community from all of the folks that that have been touched by the disease and from folks who come to us to support us just because they understand the important work that we’re trying to do for individuals and families. Absolutely and you know, you think about I know with all of our regular providers here on answers for elders radio, much of them have teams and they’re all also looking for team members. I know we are, as you know, will be having a booth at the event and I’m going to be supporting with, you know, radio spots here to urge the community to get involved. This is something that’s so valuable to all of us to be able to have this resource as the Alzheimer’s Association and what they do to support the you know, close to half million people here in Washington and I Idaho that are involved or, you know, in some way afflicted, whether it’s a being a caregiver or actually being the carry. So Bob, tell us a little bit. You know, if I’m going to give a donation to support the walk, what does my money go to support? Well, it goes to support local programs and services and they include things like our toll free twenty four our helpline. People can call at any hour of the day or night and work with masters level clinician who is there to answer questions and concerns, offer information and support. A lot of information on our website. We work with over one hundred and fifty different support groups across the state wow for persons with dementia and their caregivers. We have a wonderful care consultation program in which we work on an ongoing basis with individuals and Fan Emily’s. We do a lot of community education, advocacy in public policy or priorities for us. And last and certainly not least, the Alzheimer’s Association is the largest private funder of Alzheimer’s research in the world. So some of the money that we raise in our walks goes to fund research that the Alzheimer’s Association Funds. You know, over the last thirty years we provided almost three hundred seventy million dollars in funding for Alzheimer’s. It’s incredible. So we aren’t speaking against the Chapter President of the Alzheimer’s Association in Washington and Idaho and the watch the Alzheimer’s Association obviously is a such an important resource for all of us. Bob, tell us a little bit about you know what, we don’t have exact dates. We can go to your website to learn the dates. But what cities are you doing the walks in? Mainly give us a kind of a puget sound blueprint. Well and OKA in puget sound are our touchstone. Walk is the Pacific Northwest Walk. In Seattle. Bright have walks into coma, and did Bremerton and in Everett and in Redmond, wow, and I could keep going beyond the puget sound area until we have went up in Bellingham. I think I saw that. Actually have. We have one in mountain vernon and Mount Vernon Okay County. Okay, that’s right, that’s you know, that’s my neck of the way, that’s my my home area where I grew up. And and then as far south, you even go as far south as slympia. I believe. There’s all we go farther than that. We have a walk in long view. That’s incredible. Yeah, that’s incredible. And then we have six walks in eastern Washington as well. And so if you want to participate in a walk, you can set up a team. Is that correct? And how does that work? So you can go online and are ask is that you start a team or join a team. You can register online. You can also make your donations online. That’s wonder and then our hope is that you’ll also join us for one of the walks because we think it’s an experience absolutely meaningful. Absolutely, and how how many miles is the walk? Tell me a little bit about one of the miles. Very a bit, and I should say that our walks are not at all competitive. Right. We are blessed to have folks that come with walkers and wheelchairs and you know, it’s meant to be a social engagement activity. Sure, the walk route is typically two miles, more or less. I think we have a couple that are as long as three. So like if you’re going to take a walk around green lag. Yeah, roughly, but we also you know, there’s no penalty for turning back early. We typically will have both a short route and a full route. Sure, at each location we want to make it as easy as we can for people to come and particpsolutely. Absolutely, and obviously there. What time does it start? That also varies with location. I believe that registration for the Seattle Walk Begins at eight o’clock. Okay, there’s a program at nine, a brief program, and then the walk starts immediately thereafter. That is incredible and so having that that foundation of bringing people together truly can be a, you know, start momentum for the upcoming year. I mean, if you found that, it really can. And we also think it’s empowering for so many of the people who are are so engaged as caregiver is. There’s a there’s a particular kind of anxiety and even loneliness that comes with being a caregiver and just being in the company of other folks who write, who are on the same journey that you can share stories with and draw confidence from, makes a real difference. Absolutely absolutely, and having that Camaraderie and that support between each other and and to be able to share your stories as you’re walking the route. That’s that is such a relief. I remember when I was a caregiver for my mom, sometimes I felt like I was all alone in the world and I had this huge burden on my shoulders and I didn’t know where to turn. And having that resource where you can bring people together on that road is incredible. Makes a little difference. Yeah, so how do we first of all, how do people sign up for the walk? How do they get to you? They can sign up for the walk by going to our website, which is www dot all’s Wah al z Wa Dot Org. Perfect, and in you can you will talk you through there of how to sign up. Is that correct? Yes, that’s perfect. And there’s also a telephone number on the website in case the registration process is in any way complicated or confusing. Her and call. And then you have a hotline number, do you not? We do. It is our toll free helpline number and it is one eight hundred two seven two thirty nine hundred. Okay. So website again, www dotcalls a l zwa dot org, and the helpline is eight hundred two, seven two thirty nine hundred. Bob. Last I just want to wish you all the whatever support that we can give you from answers for elders. We are there a thousand percent. She said, thank you for all the work that you do. Thank you so much. Partners like you also make such a difference for us. Thank you so much,
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Originally published August 19, 2017