We all have those moments when memory fails: you wonder where your phone is as you’re in the middle of a call, or you leave the house and think, “did I turn the stove off?” For most of us, minor memory loss is perfectly normal. Then there’s Alzheimer’s. This debilitating disease is affecting more and more people every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. Please note that the examples of forgetfulness above do not indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s, but definitely discuss any concerns about memory loss with your doctor.

There’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Ongoing research and family support are funded by a powerful nationwide effort: the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the Walk is “the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.”

Here in Wisconsin, we’re doing our part, and the proof is in the numbers. Milwaukee ranks number 9 on the Alzheimer’s Association list of the top 30 U.S. Walks. Local teams and individual walkers right here at home have raised a grand total of $475,978 so far in 2022. For anyone keeping score, Milwaukee is ahead of Chicago by over $14,000.

There are 27 Walks to End Alzheimer’s in Wisconsin alone. Corporate teams, family teams and countless teams walking in honor or in memory of a family member, especially grandparents. Grandma’s Team and Team Grandma Strong are two Milwaukee teams honoring cherished grandparents who are either currently battling or have died from Alzheimer’s disease.

On September 18th, the Milwaukee Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held rain or shine. A powerful component of the Walk is the Promise Garden. At registration, each participant chooses a Promise Garden flower color that represents their connection to Alzheimer’s. Blue flowers represent a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia; purple memorializes loved ones lost to the disease; yellow represents a support person or caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s; and orange is for people who support the cause and have a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Where does the money go? Nationally, over $310 million is invested in 950+ projects through the organization’s International Research Grant Program. The program works “to advance our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, identify new treatment strategies, improve care for people with dementia and further our knowledge of brain health and disease prevention.” These grants have funded some of the most instrumental research.

How can you get involved? The best way is to join our Eastcastle Place team of walkers representing our staff, residents and friends on September 18th! It’s going to be a triple winner of a day: we’ll do our part to end Alzheimer’s, enjoy a lovely walk by the lake and spend time with Eastcastle Place friends in the process.