Mary Hudolin knows how hard taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer's can be.
She wants those faced with that responsibility now to know they have supports available.
Hudolin, whose mother passed away nearly five years ago from vascular dementia, was one of approximately 300 people participating in the annual Alzheimer’s Walk for Memories inside the Intercity Shopping Centre on Sunday.
She, along with her team Mary’s Memory Makers, appreciate the work done by the Alzheimer’s Society in easing the burden for the families of those affected.
“This year I have a really big focus on caregivers,” Hudolin said. “Along with my family members I really know what it’s like to be a caregiver and I wish when we were taking care of Mom we had gone to the Alzheimer’s Society a lot earlier.”
The event set a goal of raising $50,000 and received nearly half of that, $23,000, through online donations before the first physical pledges had been counted. That represents an increase of $10,000 in online donations compared to last year.
According to local Alzheimer’s Society chapter executive director Alison Denton, there are 2,300 people in Thunder Bay and 3,800 across the region who suffer from dementia.
This has resulted in more people coming together and creating a sense of community at events such as the walk, which is now in its 20th year.
“We are seeing more people affected with dementia in our community and as a result more people are walking in memory of people that they’ve lost,” Denton said.
She said the funds raised go towards working to increase the quality of life for those afflicted and providing loved ones with guidance on how to get through the tough times.
“Last year we delivered supports and services to over 600 families and we provided education and training to 2,700 people working in the field,” Denton said.
Those services can help prepare the entire family on providing appropriate care.
Hudolin said from her experiences, caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia requires a full team effort.
“It’s really difficult because caregivers come from all ages,” she said. “Sometimes you have grandchildren who come home from school and the parents need them to look after their grandparents for an hour or two.”
Participants in the event are continuing to fundraise through the month of February.
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