Sunday, June 19, 2011

Heads, you get Alzheimers; Tails, you…

By Bob Robinson

Flip a coin. Heads, you develop Alzheimers; Tails, you care for someone with Alzheimers.

That’s what Amy Schwieterman, Alzheimer’s Walk Team Recruitment Captain, told Kiwanians recently.

While there is no known cure, there is medication that will slow the process if caught in time. Without treatment or a cure, chances are you or a loved one will develop Alzheimer’s. One in eight baby boomers will get the disease after they turn 65. Nearly half of those 85 and older will develop it.

Greenville started its annual Alzheimer’s Walk in 2008. This year it will be held on Oct. 2 in Greenville City Park. There will be a long walk, 3K, and a short walk under 1/2 mile, Schwieterman said. She added that it will be a fun event with entertainment and food greeting the walkers when they finish.

Schwieterman told the group that last year the walk raised $11,400. This year they hope to increase that amount with 25 teams. A team can be any number, even just two people.

She said some of the money stays in Darke County, but the money leaving the county is used for research… research that hopefully will find the cure for a disease, improving the lives of Darke Countians.

Schwieterman said that more and more people are getting the disease, even some people in their 30s.

“It’s always been around,” she said. “We’ve just gotten better at labeling it.” She noted that the term “hardening of the arteries” was probably the onset of Alzheimer’s. There has always been stigma around it. Someone who has “gone crazy” or “lost her mind” was probably a victim.

She also said there are many forms of Dementia, but Alzheimer’s represented 80 percent of the cases.

Best defense? Exercise your brain. Walks and running exercises the body; word, number and other mental activities exercise the brain.

Want to form a team? Register at or 800-272-3900. Schwieterman is Marketing Director at Sterling House in Greenville. Holly Hill, Marketing Director at Brethren Retirement Community, chairs the committee, while Amy Farmer, Marketing Director at Heartland of Greenville, is responsible for marketing. All three are Kiwanians.

Greenville Kiwanis, a community service organization, meets Wednesdays at noon in the Chestnut Village Community Center in BRC. Membership is open to men and women who wish to serve the community and its youth.

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