“It could affect anyone, at any age,” Education and Support Coordinator for Alzheimer’s Society of Hastings-Prince Edward Sarah Kreiger says.
She explains that “dementia” is an umbrella term that is used to group a bunch of symptoms together like memory loss, confusion, or poor decision making. “Those symptoms are caused by a variety of diseases, Alzheimer’s being one of them,” Kreiger says.
She says some of the diseases are curable, but Alzheimer’s is one of the diseases that are not curable.
“It could affect anyone of any age,” Kreiger says. While the illness is mostly associated with seniors, she points out that there are cases of people in their 30s being diagnosed. “The older you are the more likely you will develop a dementia,” she adds. Kreiger says one in 10 over the age of 65 will, while one in three over the age of 85 will develop a dementia.
“Every three seconds someone in the world develops a dementia,” Kreiger says.
That’s why she believes it’s important for the community to come together to support someone they know that has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, or support groups that help those with the illness, like their local Alzheimer’s Society. “Supporting someone with this illness is a community effort,” she says.
Kreiger says for a caregiver, supporting someone with the illness is a daily battle because you never know how that day will go. “The uncertainty of it is exhausting,” she says. “Somebody who is finding themselves in this caregiver role need time to take a break.” That’s why the Alzheimer’s Society of Hastings and Prince Edward offers workshops and support and information groups, among other things to help those with the illness and those supporting them.
Kreiger says she even makes herself available to those that may need help.
Last year, $29,209 was raised during the Alzheimer’s Society’s Walk for Alzheimer’s. Kreiger says she hopes to best that amount this year. During the 9th annual walk last year she got emotional when announcing the fundraising total. “We had wonderful community support last year,” she says.
The 10th annual walk will be held on January 25th in the Fireside Room at the Hastings Centennial Manor from 9:30 AM until 11. You can find pledge forms at the Alzheimer’s Society office. You can also register online or call Kreiger at 613-332-4614.