New memory task force set to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s

Wil Petty Staff Writer jpetty@civitasmedia,com

October 21, 2013

A new Memory Task Force has started in Ashe County, to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“(The Memory Task Force) is a group of primary care providers who have experience working with dementia and Alzheimer’s,” said Bevin South of Ashe Assisted Living. “We have formed with the Alzheimer’s Association and they provide education to providers and family members and help raise funds towards research.”

The organization formed in August , as a way to help area families cope with the disease.

“It was a best case scenario. For so long I felt like Alzheimer’s was swept under the rug in the county,” said Cameron Keziah of Forest Ridge Assisted Living in West Jefferson. “It was something that a lot of people heard about off the mountain, but when it came to their loved one, it just did not fit.”

The Memory Task Force’s goal is to help families of Alzheimer’s victims know that they are not alone. Also, they hope to make the pain of having a family member with Alzheimer’s easier to cope with.

The group started by knowing they wanted to raise awareness of the disease, and then figuring out how they could.

“Everybody probably knows somebody or has somebody in their family that has had Alzheimer’s or has it now,” South said. “I feel like a lot of people view it as an embarrassment and they don’t want to talk about it or get help for it

South said they will provide education and help to the families who need it.

“It is a horrible disease but you don’t have to deal with it alone,” she said.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and over five million Americans live with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“This was the one common task force we did not have,” Keziah said. “Probably every provider in the county, whether it be a generalized practitioner or us in a facility. Once Bevin spearheaded the thing, we all kind of flocked to it.”

South said anyone who deals with the disease is welcome to join the task force.

The task force will have its first fundraiser at Shatley Springs in Crumpler from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 8. Tickets are $10 and will include a family-style meal.

All money raised will go toward helping raise awareness of Alzheimer’s in the county.

“After the breakfast is over we will get together and start looking at other events we can have to raise awareness,” South said.