ODESSA (Big 2/Fox 24) – June is Alzheimer’s Brain and Awareness month. Before we start July, there is important information about the disease and its impact to share. Organizers for Walk to End Alzheimer’s event say now more than ever, people suffering from Alzheimer’s need the community’s help.
“The world may seem like it’s on hold, but Alzheimer’s is not on hold. With all of the situations that are going on with COVID-19, it’s made care giving even harder. And harder on those that are suffering with the disease. So the awareness is such a huge movement for us,” said Walk to End Alzheimer’s Manager Julie Gray.
” The saddest part to me is not being able to be there with your loved one, to hold their hand, and they’re dying alone. So now more than ever, it’s more critical that we find a cure for Alzheimer’s,” said Permian Basin Walk to End Alzheimer’s Chairperson Mary McCourt.
There is no known treatment or cure for the disease, but it affects many Americans. McCourt, who also works with Representative Conways’s office as a Volunteer Ambassador, says more than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and that there are 400,000 Texans living with the disease-which is why she has been working on some legislation for his office.
“One of them is the Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act. Representative Conaway has signed on to cosponsor this act, and what it is-it requires the Department of Justice to develop training materials to assist professionals…which would be educating law enforcement, judges,courts, mental awareness facilities with how to deal with somebody who has Alzheimer’s because a lot of times they see them being combative, when if they see the disease, they they would realize that that would be part of the cure,” said McCourt.
McCourt says symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer’s include paranoia, forgetfulness, an inability to handle money or problems doing tasks that person can normally do. Both women say it’s a devastating diagnosis for families, but it also affects the U.S.
“This is a health crisis-and it will, before we always talked about the Alzheimer’s and dementia would bankrupt our medical system within the next 5 to 10 years, if something’s not done. Now with the layer of COVID added on, it’s that much more important that our communities need to get involved because so many people are being affected,” said Gray.
You can help spread awareness about the disease by taking part in the Permian Basin Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It’s coming up October 10th in Midland. The walk will be set up different than it usually is due to COVID-19. There will not be a large event with every participant in one place, but you can walk individually or with your family and friends or team members.