06/11/07 — Memory Walk volunteers sought

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Memory Walk volunteers sought

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 11, 2007 1:45 PM

In the five years since the Memory Walk was introduced in Wayne County as a means to increase awareness of Alzheimer's, Anne Paugh has seen a lot of changes.

Support groups have been formed for families, along with education, respite and counseling services.

"When I compare attendance in my family workshops year to year, I see 70 percent are new," she said. "More people are being diagnosed, more families are coming forward."

Mrs. Paugh has served as chairman of the Neuse Regional Memory Walk since its inception. This year, she will be corporate sponsorship chairman, turning over her previous duties to JoAnne Fields Daniels.

The sixth annual Memory Walk -- for Wayne, Johnston and Greene counties -- is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20. But advance efforts start much sooner.

Teams are needed to participate in the walk, Mrs. Paugh said.

"We encourage people to get different teams together from eight categories -- assisted living facilities, businesses, churches, families, medical organizations, nursing homes, senior organizations and students. We like to have representation in all of these categories," she said.

Interested individuals and team captains are invited to attend a preliminary planning meeting on June 20 at noon at Herman Park Center. At that time, materials will be distributed, along with team packets and other information about procedures for the walk.

The advance preparation is necessary, Ms. Daniels said.

"People like to start this early," she said. "It gives them a chance to form teams, have fundraisers, get corporate sponsors, etc."

Despite the climbing number of cases of Alzheimer's and related dementia each year, unless and until it reaches one's own family, understanding is still lagging in the community, the women said.

"Being aware of the signs, realizing that you don't have to be old to get Alzheimer's, that there is an increase in the instances of younger people getting it in their 30s and 40s" are just a few things the public needs to be aware, Mrs. Paugh said.

In Wayne County, a support group meets monthly to provide encouragement to family members of those affected by Alzheimer's.

Proceeds from the Memory Walk go to develop such groups, as well as providing free materials, an 800-number helpline, and in some cases, paying for someone to relieve a caregiver so he can attend a support group or simply get a break.

Materials are also available for businesses interested in providing information to employees about Alzheimer's and related services.

For more information on the walk or the upcoming team meeting, contact Ms. Daniels at 739-6164.