Persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease may be prone to forgetting, but that doesn't mean they've been forgotten.
An Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's will be held at Betts Park on Saturday, Sept. 29. Registration will start at 10 a.m. with the walk beginning at 11 a.m. and covering between one and three miles.
Amanda Hurd, constituent relations manager for the Alzheimer's Association's Erie office, noted the abundance of care facilities in the area made Warren a good place to hold the walk. They include Golden LivingCenter - Kinzua, Corry Manor and Warren Manor.
"The walk is a celebration of people who believe one day we can eliminate the disease," Hurd said. "It's not hereditary and can strike anyone at any time. It robs the nation of its future and loved ones of their memories."
One of the walk's goals is to have 10 registered teams, Hurd said, adding that nine had signed up as of Monday. Another goal is to have 100 participants and raise $10,000.
That money helps fund research as well as better care for patients and support for caregivers. It also provides for education, Hurd said, including how to recognize the signs of Alzheimer's disease.
Among the signs Hurd listed are memory changes which disrupt daily life, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations, new problems with words in speaking or writing, misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps, decreased or poor judgment, withdrawal from work or social activities and changes in mood or personality.
Education efforts also help distinguish between Alzheimer's disease and normal, age-related changes. A lot of people sometimes have memory changes, Hurd said, and that's normal.
In 2010, there were 280,000 cases of Alzheimer's among Pennsylvanians 65 or older. While other diseases like breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and stroke are decreasing, Hurd said, Alzheimer's disease is actually increasing.