On September 11, 2010 committee members from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System Dementia Committee, several Veterans who reside at the VA Menlo Park Community Living Center (CLC), and some Veterans' family members and friends walked 1.5 – 3 miles at Mission Bay in San Francisco to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects as many as 5.3 million Americans. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies, or social life. Alzheimer's worsens over time, and is fatal. Today, it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.
The purple-hat wearing walkers showed up to support and raise funds for this key cause. The Northern California/Northern Nevada Alzheimer's Association is a dedicated community partner of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. For several years they have supported our veterans with dementia and their caregivers through our association with their wonderful Living with Memory Loss program. In addition, the Menlo Park CLC will soon be implementing their Memories in the Making program. Memories in the Making is a program for people with dementia that helps them to increase self-esteem, self-confidence, socialization, and positive affect (e.g. smiling, laughing). It also offers a heightened sense of awareness and belonging so key to the well-being of these individuals.
The VA Memory Marchers team was developed and coordinated by Christina Yee, Menlo Park CLC Recreation Therapist, along with the assistance of Sausha Polentz, Menlo Park VA Recreation Therapist Supervisor, Leanne Young, Menlo Park VA CLC Recreation Therapist, and Kathy Craig, Menlo Park CLC Occupational Therapist.
It was a wonderful day indeed! The Dementia Committee expresses thanks to all who participated and also those who supported this cause. For additional information about the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk, check out their website.