Alzheimer’s disease has a devastating impact on communities around the world, but its impact in Pennsylvania and Lycoming County is often not discussed.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 280,000 people in Pennsylvania are living with the disease, and more than 400,000 residents work as unpaid caregivers.
Community members participate in larger efforts to raise awareness of the disease and its effects.Dozens of Lycoming County Residents attended this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at South Williamsport Park on Saturday, October 1st.
Participants raised over $26,000 to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s care, support and research programs.
Instead, Lewisburg headed this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s Fundraising Team, raising over $9,000.
Many community members expressed the challenge of caring for loved ones as the disease progressed over time.
Megan Hazel, a local resident who organized and led the walk on Saturday, spoke about her family’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease. Hazel lost her grandmother to the disease.
After the birth of her son in 2016, Hazel began noticing symptoms of her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease even before her diagnosis. She said, “After visiting him for months, you are terrified in her eyes [her son] “Because she couldn’t remember his name,” Hazel said.
On another visit, she encountered the same horror, but instead of correcting her grandmother, Hazel brought relief to the room, saying, “Gram, there’s a pretty doll here.”
“It was hard for my family. They always wanted to set her right. It was an education for all of us. I accepted it and felt what I personally felt. No. We can realize that there is so much more that we can do to educate and raise awareness in Lycoming County,” Hazel said.
Another community member, Diane Welch, describes Alzheimer’s as a long battle marked by resilience and strength for all involved. Welch recounted the story of her father, who battled the disease for her 14.5 years, as her mother told her.
“I helped him get through the first ten years pretty easily. About four years ago, things took a turn for the worse,” Welch read.
Welch’s father was in and out and suffered severe weakness before improving again. At one point, he had been hospitalized for two weeks and had forgotten how to walk, but Welch’s mother credits his treatment and paramedics with his initial recovery.
After about a year of stable health, he became belligerent and developed hallucinations. They decided it was time for a nursing home.
“I spoke with my mother and she told me the day I put him in the nursing home was harder than the day he died. And I will never forget both days.” No,” said Welch.
The whole family was by his side until the end. “I hope you all understand that no matter how deeply you are involved with the disease, they know. They know you are there. And someone cares.” I know that
The fundraiser will continue until December 31, 2022. act.alz.org/lycoming.
https://www.northcentralpa.com/life/alzheimers-walk-sheds-light-on-local-impact-of-disease/article_560b5e8e-4348-11ed-9a44-ef9a2f8786cb.html Alzheimer’s Walk sheds light on the local effects of disease.life