On June 21, community members gathered at the Paul E. Patton Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center to celebrate the signing of a proclamation declaring June Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month in Perry County.
“We pray for those who endure it (Alzheimer’s disease) day after day, whose loved ones names they can no longer remember, and we pray for those family members who die a little bit each time their mom or dad don’t remember them,” said Rev. Tammy Schmidt, the chaplain at the EKVC, explaining the toll the disease takes on everyone involved. “We are in support of those families and individuals fighting this disease.”
Many of the people in attendance said they were grateful to have a facility such as the EKVC.
“This is an amazing place,” said Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander. “It’s an amazing facility to have here in Eastern Kentucky.”
State Rep. Chris Fugate agreed.
“I’m so thankful for this place that has helped so many families, but especially those who have Alzheimer’s,” said Fugate. “It’s a bad disease that people have to go through and families have to live with.”
During the event, Greg Gilbert, an EKVC nurse administrator and volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association provided attendees with information about Alzheimer’s disease, including statistics, warning signs and how to become more involved and supportive in raising awareness.
“In support of Alzheimer’s (awareness), especially the 73,000 Kentuckians that currently has Alzheimer’s, as well as over 250,000 caregivers that help provide care that is often unpaid, we are thankful for facilities like the EKVC and number of private homes that help take care of those suffering from the disease,” said Gilbert. According to studies, Gilbert said, nearly 90,000 Kentuckians will have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
Some common warning signs to watch for include disruptive memory loss, difficulty completing familiar tasks, misplacing things often, changes in mood and confusion with time or place.
Gilbert and other Alzheimer’s Association officials, hope that continued research, raising awareness and support will help end the disease.