By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN It is estimated that more than five million Americans are currently affected with Alzheimer’s disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The disease, with no known cure, slowly destroys brain cells of its victims causing memory loss, which creates thinking and behavior difficulties. It leaves little of the patient’s original capabilities including work, hobbies or social life.
To bring awareness to the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, St. Mary’s Care Center Community Relations Committee is announcing its plans to host its first annual event, a “Walk of Hope” set for Saturday, May 22.
It is a benefit to raise funds for the memory care garden level at St. Mary’s Care Center, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Anyone interested in taking part in the Walk of Hope can register from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturday at the care center in Winsted. Sponsorships are encouraged. Mayor Steve Stotko will be part of the opening ceremony, which will begin at 9 a.m. The Walk of Hope is from 9:15 a.m. until noon.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the benefit should make checks payable to St. Mary’s Care Center “Walk of Hope.”
Send the donation to the attention of Michele Muller at St. Mary’s Care Center, 551 4th Street North, Winsted, MN 55395.
Questions can be referred to Muller, St. Mary’s therapeutic recreation manager at (320) 485-3154.
Special care given to St. Mary’s Alzheimer’s patients
At St. Mary’s Care Center, there is a 24-bed dementia or Alzheimer’s floor called the memory care garden level. The seniors have access to an outdoor area with gardens, a waterfall, birdbaths and feeders, and comfortable seating so that residents and families can be comfortable while they enjoy their surroundings.
The staff caring for the patients with memory loss provide meaningful, and individualized activities based on each of the senior’s interests and needs.
Some examples Muller gave of activities suited for specific seniors were one-time farmers who can plant vegetables in elevated gardens; women who like to clean being able to polish silver teapots and candlestick holders; and another resident who plans his entire day around organizing and folding clothing protectors.
For seniors who like to spend their time indoors, there is an aviary for bird watching.
Sister Mary Ellen and Father Brown provide spiritual programs weekly at the garden level. There is Mass, a prayer group, hymn singing, and a devotional group every Friday.
St. Mary’s community relations committee
The St. Mary’s Care Center Community Relations Committee started meeting last November.
Its goal is to extend the reach of St. Mary’s into the community through education and event planning.
This year’s Walk of Hope is its first event.
It’s the committee’s hope to educate and inform the public about St. Mary’s, the health issues facing seniors and their families, and long-term care solutions.
Members of the committee are Michele Muller, Mary Ellen Campion, Bill Fynboh, Helen Guggemos, Pam Henry-Neaton, Ken Kremer, Mary Purcell, Diane Riebe, and Linda Scherer.