Annual Alzheimer’s Alliance Event Expected To Raise $45,000
By REBECCA HOEFFNER
Even though Alzheimer's disease accounts for the majority of types of dementia for people older than 65, there's still much about the disease that is unknown.
"I think the biggest myth about Alzheimer's is the idea that 'they're not in there,'" said Nora Gravois, client services coordinator for the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County. "There are ways of still reaching them."
Ms. Gravois told story after story of patients who have visited the center for programs, and family members were astounded at simple things that helped their loved one respond, such as music or art.
The Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County is expecting to raise about $45,000 with its annual "Mah Jongg for Memory" event on July 12. The money raised at the event helps the organization provide services to Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers all over the county.
"Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder with no known cause or cure," according to the website. "Symptoms of the disease include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, personality changes, disorientation, and loss of language skills."
The disease is caused when brain cells are slowly killed off by attacking proteins.
"One in three people in our community is touched by Alzheimer's," said Jana Humphrey, executive director of the Alzheimer's Alliance, in a written release. "Nearly all of us are affected in one way or another by this dreaded disease. The Alliance provides support in a way that is unique to our area. Every penny raised by the organization stays in Smith County to help families and individuals who need it on this journey."
One of the services funded by the "Mah Jongg for Memory" event is "Wonderful Wednesdays," a weekly themed social club for patients and their caregivers.
"Those who attend enjoy a time of social and cognitive stimulation while their caregivers enjoy a much-needed break from their caregiving responsibilities," said Jamie Huff community relations coordinator for the organization, in a written release. "However, this important service to our community does not come without a cost."
Other Alzheimer's Alliance services partially funded by "Mah Jongg for Memory" include comprehensive caregiver support, community referrals, a tracking system to locate people with dementia who tend to wander, an early memory loss peer group, and educational offerings including a large conference for family and professional caregivers last April.
"The 'Mah Jongg for Memory' fundraiser is vital to the ongoing support provided by the Alzheimer's Alliance to our neighbors, friends, colleagues and community at large who face any type of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease," said Mary Ann Eckert, event chair, in a written release.
The event is organized by a group of women called "Alzheimer's Support Auxiliary for People (ASAP)." Organizers are expecting about 450 women to attend and show their support.
The event includes games and a silent auction. Attendees bring their own Mah Jongg sets or they can bring and play other games, such as bridge. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler.