Letters to the Editor

Alzheimer's disease touches many families

Editor: This is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and on Sunday (Jan. 26), our community will gather at the Aldergrove Athletic Park to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. This affliction is so widespread that most people know someone, whether related or acquainted, who suffers from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.

There are currently more than 70,000 British Columbians who have been diagnosed with this disease, and of this number, 10,000 are under 65 years. This is a growing concern for the actively aging.

The shadow of dementia is cast across many more connected lives, therefore the 2014 Walk for Memories is dedicated to caregivers. These lives are also dramatically changed when a family member or close friend is diagnosed with any form of dementia. For every person suffering from declining mental faculties, there is at least one other person on whom increasing demands are placed.

We are the honoured “poster faces” for this walk, representing those hundreds of caregivers who may or may not be aware of the many resources the Alzheimer Society offers through enrichment programs, advocacy and research. We currently volunteer with the Alzheimer Society to advocate for improved health care, education and support of dementia for our loved ones, now and in the future.

Randy’s mother, Helen Bysouth, a longtime Langley resident and active community volunteer, suffers from Lewy body dementia and currently resides at Zion Park Manor in Cloverdale. Our family has definitely benefited from the Alzheimer Society of B.C. programs.

Over the past four years, our caregiver group sessions, hosted by area co-ordinator Rose Puszka, has increased knowledge, understanding and communication, enabling us to walk this emotional journey together with family and friends.

Though each family’s needs are different, our commitment to those whose lives touch ours, and to our community, is to offer support for others who travel this same difficult journey.

The Walk for Memories starts at 12 p.m. Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese will open the walk and the honourees will perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony. There will be family-oriented entertainment, refreshments and music. Dogs on leashes are welcome.

Please invite all your readers to participate in this Walk for Memories, either by attending in person or by donation. Teams are encouraged (it’s fun to be part of a group) and all donations above $15 are issued tax receipts.

The walk website is walkformemories.com. Supporters may register and/or donate by scrolling down to the Langley, Aldergrove and Abbotsford link.

 

Randy Bysouth And Diana Frances,

Surrey

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