One in three U.S. families affected by Alzheimer’s, study says

April 2, 2012 Community Print Print
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With statistics like an estimated 5.4 million Americans that have it and 1 in 3 families in the U.S. affected by it, Alzheimer’s is a growing concern to many Americans.

To help educate on this topic Student Life hosted a Brown Bag workshop directed by Amy Padilla, community outreach coordinator and Sarah Jones, walk coordinator from the Central Oklahoma Office of the Oklahoma and Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association on Wednesday, March 28.

The presentation opened even before introductions with the above video which set the tone for the overall discussion.

Individual items presented included basic information on what the disease is, a demonstration of brain function in healthy and affected brains, an exercise that illustrated how complex many life tasks are, risk factors and brain health, and a testimonial from someone who has been effected. There was also talk about what the Alzheimer’s Association is, Campus Action one of the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs, the OKC Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and resources for information and guidance.

The testimonial presented by Emily Hendrickson of Norman, was about her experience with the disease when her father was diagnosed with it in her sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma.

“I struggled to fit college, work and dad in my life, which was difficult,” Hendrickson said. “I didn’t know that there were support groups out there but I learned that it’s okay to ask for help.”

Jones presented the information of both Campus Action and the OKC Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Campus Action is for college students to organize friends in support of advocacy of Alzheimer’s and it is finding new ways to outreach, and recruit campus liaisons Jones said.

“The walk is the nation’s largest event to support Alzheimer’s awareness,” she said.

LaWanda Wertenberger, business major and affected family member said she liked the presentation.

“I like it because it is raising awareness…because (Alzheimer’s) is more frequently diagnosed,” Wertenberger said. She also said that the part that was most important to her was that “caregivers don’t have to go alone because Alzheimer’s has a huge support network.”

For information about Alzheimer’s or the Alzheimer’s Association visit www.alz.org, or call the 24-hour helpline at 800-272-3900.

For information on the OKC Walk to End Alzheimer’s or to register visit okcwalk.com.

For more information about the Brown Bag series contact Student Life at 405-682-7523.

To contact Mike Wormley, email staffwriter4@occc.edu.

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