Local Club Learns About Alzheimer’s Issues

May 7, 2019

By Tina Suarez

The speaker for Centralia Rotary Club’s April 29 meeting was Tina Henson, Area Coordinator and Walk Manager for the Greater Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (http://www.alz.org). The Greater Missouri Chapter covers most of Missouri and 10 counties in Southern Illinois. Tina is co-owner of Salem Travel and became involved with the Alzheimer’s Association approximately 12 years ago after her mother was diagnosed with the disease. Ms. Henson began her talk by relating a few facts about this dreaded disease. In 2019, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s; by 2050 this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.

Then there are the caregivers. Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll on caregivers. Compared with caregivers of people without dementia, twice as many caregivers of those with dementia indicate substantial emotional, financial and physical difficulties. Most caregivers (66 percent) live with the person with dementia in the community. Approximately one-quarter of dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers — meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18 (who many times also help in the care of their grandparent). Finding “family time” or “down time” can be hard and the Alzheimer’s Association is trying to find ways to help such families by providing financial help for respite care to give caregivers a break (such as scholarships, sliding scale fees, or government programs). Some of these programs are financed by fundraisers like The Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

As Walk Manager, Henson was very happy to announce that Centralia is going to have the first Walk to End Alzheimer’s in this part of Southern Illinois at Kaskaskia College on Saturday, September 28, 2019. This event starts at 8:00, with an opening ceremony starting at 9:00. This event is proudly sponsored by Edward Jones® and will feature a one mile walk and have a Promise “White Garden” Ceremony. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The money raised by our local Walk to End Alzheimer’s stays in the local area and goes to provide respite care, training, and consultation services for patients and caregivers.

Pictured: Tina Henson, Tina Suarez, and Jay Luse