The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s is right around the corner, but it’s going to look a little different this year because of COVID-19. Despite everything going on, the Oklahoma Alzheimer’s Association has been working to raise awareness about the disease and help family members who are taking care of someone who has it.
67,000 people, aged 65 and older, are living with Alzheimer’s in Oklahoma, and there are 226,000 family caregivers bearing the burden of the disease in the sooner state.
“It affects a giant population in Oklahoma,” Paula Huckabaa, the Community outreach coordinator for Oklahoma Alzheimer’s Association said. “And it will, for years to come. The science is advancing with research. Our funds that come from the walk go to research because we have to find a cure for this disease, or at least a treatment.”
Huckabaa said there’s currently no medicine that will treat the disease.
“There are a lot of clinical studies right now and a lot of clinical trials, but right now, nothing is on the market that will treat the disease,” she said. “There are some medicines that will help with some of the symptoms, but nothing that actually stops the disease.”
That’s why there are different fundraisers to raise money for research like the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Some of the money also goes to fund the resources they have available for people who are taking care of someone with the disease. They have resources available online, along with a help number that people can call. That number is 1-800-272-3900.
“If you have any questions at all, if you need to talk to someone in the middle of the night at 2:30 in the morning because your loved one, who has dementia won’t go to sleep, or you don’t know where to start…start there,” she said. “Start with the 1-800 number, our helpline.”
Huckabaa said caregivers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help because taking care of someone with dementia is not easy.
“There are some resources out there to help you manage it that caregiver fatigue,” she said. “So please reach out to us, and we will help you.”
It’s not too late to participate in this year’s virtual walk. People can sign up online by going to lawtonwalk.org, and then on October 24th they can watch beginning the ceremony online and then go for a walk.
There’s also going to be a promise garden set up where people can drive by and see the flowers that they’d normally get. That’s going to be from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the 24th at 11th and Gore.