April 17, 2012 7:01 PM
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and is the only cause of death (among the top ten causes) that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
An estimated 5.4 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s. Since one person in eight (of older Americans) suffers from Alzheimer’s, chances are you have a parent or a family member that is affected by this disease.
Teri Swezey, from Carrboro, North Carolina, has embarked on a 3,039-mile walk that will take her from her hometown to Cambria, California. She estimates it will take her six to seven months to complete her walk. She is doing this to raise awareness and money for the elderly people who suffer from dementia and their caregivers.
Jim Moore, manager of Farrell’s Self Storage, understands where Swezey is coming from. He understands the challenges that both the person with Alzheimer’s and the caretaker faces because he, too, has been a caregiver to someone with dementia. He knows that what Swezey is doing isn’t easy. That is why he has donated money to her cause.
Swezey’s late mother developed mixed vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. Symptoms of vascular dementia include problems with concentration, communication, memory problems, difficulties with walking and unsteadiness, periods of severe confusion, and problems with continence.
Vascular dementia is caused when the brain does not receive an adequate supply of blood. This is due to damage to the blood vessels in the brain. This usually occurs when the brain is damaged because a person has had a stroke, suffers from Binswanger’s disease, or has type II sugar diabetes.
Caring for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s can be difficult and challenging. Swezey, a 57-year-old public health researcher, said that she had difficult times dealing with her mother yet they also experienced sweet moments together.
Swezey walks up to 15 miles a day, which takes about seven hours. Robert Hoggard, her partner, follows behind her with a trailer. They stay in RV campgrounds, state parks, or hotels.
Swezey hopes to raise $180,000 by the end of her journey. Currently, she has raised $3,500.
If she happens to pass through your community, take a moment to locate her and donate to her cause. I’m sure she will be deeply grateful.
“Carrboro woman walks across US to raise money and awareness for elderly care.” Daily Tar Heel; 17 April 2012.
What is vascular dementia?
Farrell’s Self Storage.