Alzheimer’s Awareness Walk: ‘Let us help you walk this journey’

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Both on foot and in golf carts, 40-plus people made their way along the one and a half mile trek around the Trinity Oaks campus for their Alzheimer’s Awareness Walk.

Participants included staff and residents from Trinity Living Center, Health and Rehab, Trinity Retirement and Trinity Oaks Assisted Living along with additional guests who came to support the endeavor.

Community Outreach Coordinator for Trinity at Home Teresa Dakins, who served as the event organizer, welcomed everyone to this their third such event.

They started having a mini walk on their campus because, she said, “a lot of our folks can’t make it to the walk that’s held in September at the research campus.”

The event was held June 21, which Dakins said is the longest day of the year, and therefore the Alzheimer’s Association uses this day to bring awareness about the disease to the community.

She expressed how glad she was for the great turnout and the fact that they had no rain, as she said last year they had to walk in the halls.

Balloons, both purple, the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement, and those in the shape of forget-me-not flowers, were handed out, prior to the start of the walk. Once directions and the offer of a golf cart ride to any others who needed help were given, Dakins thanked everyone “for coming and making it successful” and concluded with “let’s walk!”

Dakins also leads the Rowan County Alzheimer’s Support Group, which meets monthly at Trinity Oaks, and several who attend that group also participated in the walk. Wanda Snell was one of those attendees present for the event.

She said the support group provides people an opportunity to talk about what is going on in their situations and share ideas and if people have better ideas they offer those.

“But mainly, she said, “it’s just getting together with people who are going through the same thing that I’m going through and seeing how they’re dealing with it.”

Dakins said she has worked with Alzheimer’s clients for 20 years and walked that journey for 13 years as her mother-in-law suffered with Alzheimer’s for that long. She said her heart broke for her husband and his brother as they had to watch their mother go through this disease.

When she first began working with clients, Dakins said people were too embarrassed to talk about it and would just say their loved one needed help.

“They wouldn’t talk about it,” she said, but would just say, “they’re not quite what they used to be.”

A lot has happened since the support group first started, which had just a couple people attending, but now they have approximately 20 that come to the group.

“It’s open to folks that live on this campus, folks that live in the Rowan community, and we offer respite care,” Dakins said, sharing that they have volunteers to provide care for the family of those attending the group thus allowing them the opportunity to have that night to have a meal and talk to others about whatever might be bothering them concerning this journey of caring for their loved one.

Bringing awareness, letting people know they are here as a community and are here to support others in this journey, are very important for people to know, Dakins said.

Many don’t know where to reach out, “so to us, it’s very important for people to know the support is here,” she said. “We’re here for you, come, call us and let us help you walk this journey.”