We’ve all heard the saying “Walk the Talk.” Today I’m asking you to join us in our “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” and walk the walk! on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Whitney Commons Park, behind the Senior Center.

Registration starts at 5 p.m. and the walk begins at 6 p.m.  You can walk around the beautiful park and enjoy the amazing flowers, check out the labyrinth or just “hang out” and visit with friends.  We will take a group photo for those that want to participate and walk for about an hour.  The goal is to promote awareness and offer support to those suffering from Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers.

Statistics show that in 2015 an estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease — this figure does not include other forms of dementia.  We all know someone suffering from some form of dementia and/or a caregiver caring for someone.  Statistics also show that every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease with almost two-thirds being women.

The impact on caregivers is tremendous.  Stress, depression and physical demands are high for caregivers.  The Family Caregiver Program along with other Senior Center programs work hard to support caregivers and their loved ones.  Respite, support groups and other resources are available to help you in your caregiver role.

My goal each year is to raise funds and promote awareness about the various resources in Sheridan County, the state and around the country to families and caregivers.  The Alzheimer’s Association now has a Wyoming Chapter based in Cheyenne.  Janet Lewis, executive director of the Wyoming Chapter will be joining us for our walk and will share information about advances and resources for those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.  It is a symptom that gradually and progressively declines memory, thinking and reasoning skills.  Memory loss that disrupts everyday life is not a normal part of aging. The 10 signs are:

1.Memory loss. 2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. 3. Problems with language. 4. Disorientation to time and place. 5. Poor or decreased judgment. 6. Problems with abstract thinking. 7. Misplacing things. 8. Changes in mood or behavior. 9. Changes in personality. 10. Loss of initiative.

Most people with Alzheimer’s live at home, cared for by family and friends.  That said, family and friends (caregivers) need to be aware of resources to support them in their roles as caregivers.

I invite you to stop by our Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Wednesday and pick up resource and support information.  I am also available Monday through Friday at the Senior Center to visit with you about the services we provide and how we can be of support to you and your family.  You can reach me at 675-1978.

It is vital that caregivers care for themselves in order to be at their best as caregivers.  One of my favorite quotes is “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world” and that is what you caregivers are.

You are the world to that person that you care for!

Stella Montano is the director of Family Caregiver Services at the Sheridan Senior Center. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community.  It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.