Local professionals and residents joined the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer's Association at Maplewood Senior Living at Strawberry Hill on Wednesday for the 2nd annual Walk Kick Off Luau breakfast.
The breakfast kicks off the chapter's three mile Walk to End Alzheimer's event at Calf Pasture Beach in September.
"We don't have enough research dollars going towards Alzheimer's," said Len Schwartz. "My dad passed of Alzheimer's three years ago."
"I lost my mother to Lewy Body Dementia, which is a different type of dementia, six and a half months ago," said Alzheimer's Association Southwest Regional Director Kristen Cusato. "It's for her that we're doing this and it's for others as well. So many people have lost people and we just want to reduce this pain in some way, shape or form."
"When you come together and you see the big picture," said Special Events Coordinator for the CT chapter Lexi Rodriguez. "I think it's a very motivating experience and inspiring to know that there are a lot of people doing something about this."
With 54 teams and 120 walkers already registered, the chapter has already raised over $25,000 for a cure. It's goal is to raise a total of $239,189 through 140 teams.
"The response I got from people who've all been touched by this, the dollar amounts they donated, the number of people who donated, I was blown away by it."
Maplewood at Strawberry hill offers care for those with dementia, alzheimer's, neurological disorders, and parkinson disease. Experts say as the aging population increases so should the need to help those with these conditions.
"We have a big bump in our baby boomers, which really creates the need for awareness," said Maplewood Community Outreach Director Kristin Hocker. "And that's a generation that really does have interest in activating and becoming advocates for what they believe in. And what better cause than something that affects your family member."
"10 warning signs, there are several of them," said Cusato. "One is serious memory issues that affect your daily living, challenges in problem solving, having some word vocabulary issues, having some visual spacial issues, some depression that comes into play, there are a lot of different things that come back. There's a big difference between normal aging and alzheimers and dementia. We really need to educate people about the 10 signs so they know when it's time to go to a doctor."
Walk to End Alzheimer's will start Sunday September 29 at 9 a.m. For more information on the event visit: www.alz.org/walk.