Why I Walk – Alicia Miller

AliciaMillerWhyIWalk

My name is Alicia Miller and I Walk to End Alzheimer’s for four family members – my grandmother, Uncle Johnny, Aunt Loretta and my mother. In addition to the family that I know about, I am also aware that this disease appears to carry further up the line on my mother’s side of the family. I may not know them all, but I Walk for them as well.

My first interaction with this disease was when I was a child and watching my grandmother decline over the years. Granted, she had a stroke about the time I was born, but it was Alzheimer’s that ultimately took her life.

I watched her physically and mentally decline over sixteen years of my life. Alzheimer’s took away the opportunity to play, bake, talk about things, and just to have a normal interaction with my grandmother.

For what I knew of her, she was kind and soft-spoken and she smiled at me often.

Being a child and into my young teens, it was scary to watch someone slip away and have conversations with her father (an empty chair to the rest of us), to randomly cry and you didn’t know why, to have no control over daily functions, to hold a baby doll and basically just revert back to being a little girl.

She slipped away to heaven in January of 1995.

My Uncle Johnny is actually not a “blood” relative but was married to my Aunt Loretta. He lost his battle to Alzheimer’s in March of 2001. Aunt Loretta is currently living with the disease and is my mother’s only, and older, sister.

My mother has not been officially given a diagnosis but there is no question to anyone in my family that that’s exactly what this is.

We’ve seen and dealt with this tragic disease before.

It’s been so much harder now being the child rather than the grandchild or the niece and seeing it firsthand. It’s hard knowing that there are times my mom doesn’t know who I am, there are many times that she’s very difficult to deal with – it’s hard to build a thick skin sometimes and to have to teach your children, nieces and nephews to do the same when they should just be able to be children.

It’s hard to watch your mom to repeatedly discover and rediscover the loss of a loved one from almost 30 years ago and to know that I can’t take that pain or those tears away.

It can be difficult to repeatedly hear the same conversations and to learn to give short answers, to learn that at times it’s just easier to agree than to disagree, etc.

There are so many more things that I could say about my mom, her struggles, and about all that I’ve learned and continue to learn.

For those reading this, remember that even through the difficult times, take every ounce of joy that you possibly can out of every moment you can because you never know when it will be their last.

Celebrate life, take mental pictures if not real ones, ask questions, build memories and be thankful for all of the little things.

Then after you do that, apply those same principles to your everyday life. Cry when you need to, lean on others when you need to, find healthy outlets, seek the Alzheimer’s Association and all of the incredible resources available – that’s what they’re there for.

Remember to take care of yourself in the process of caring for your friend/family member.

I Walk for my family.

I Walk for the caregivers and the amazing things they do every day.

I Walk for each person whose story I have seen or heard.

I Walk for answers and for a cure and I ask you to do the same.

Thank you, in advance, for all of the funds you are raising for research and towards helping families here in the Greater Richmond area.

You can now register for the 2015 Walks to End Alzheimer’s!

Northern Neck – Middle Peninsula; Saturday, September 19th at Bethpage Camp Resort. Register and donate at bit.ly/NNMPWalkToEndALZ2015

Fredericksburg; Saturday, September 26th at University of Mary Washington. Register and donate at bit.ly/FredericksburgWalkToEndALZ2015

Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s; Saturday, November 7th at Innsbrook. Register and donate at bit.ly/RVAWalkToEndALZ2015

Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Announces New CEO

MarieHeadShotThe Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond has named Marie Kolendo chief executive officer. Kolendo, who will succeed current Chapter CEO Sherry Peterson, will join the Association on July 27th. Peterson is retiring after serving the Greater Richmond Chapter for nearly 17 years.

“As the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond grows to meet the increased demand and needs of those living with Alzheimer’s and their families, we sought a leader with a personal connection to the disease, an individual with a long-standing commitment to our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s, and an individual with a proven track record of managerial and leadership success,” said Andrea Yoak, president of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Board.

“We are confident Marie will build upon the strong foundation laid by her predecessor and expand awareness, services, and programs for the thousands of individuals in our region faced with the daily challenges of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.”

Kolendo served on the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Board from July 2006 through December 2014 serving the Association in various capacities, including Board Chair and Treasurer, as well as positions with the Finance Committee, Program Committee, and Development Committee.

She has also served as the Board representative at the Alzheimer’s Association Delegate Assembly and has been very engaged in advocacy; most recently serving as an Alzheimer’s Ambassador to Senator Tim Kaine.

Kolendo spent 16 years at Genworth in various positions; most recently serving as Vice President of Long Term Care In Force Management where she provided leadership in the development and implementation of analytical models to evaluate trends in the Company’s insurance population and identified opportunities to improve performance.

Her other positions at Genworth included: Chief Risk Officer – Long Term Care, and Controller – Long Term Care.

“I am incredibly excited to join the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond and I am humbled to follow Sherry’s incredible success and to become part of a team that I have immense respect and admiration for,” said Kolendo.

“When my very close friend was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I witnessed first-hand the incredible amount of support and counseling provided to her and her family by the Association staff and I know we will continue to make a significant difference in the lives of individuals with the disease, as well as their family and their caregivers.”

Prior to Genworth, Kolendo was controller at Connectool/Paladin Tools and an auditor with Ernst and Young. She received a B.S. in Accounting from Virginia Commonwealth University; an M.B.A. from Averett University; and is currently completing a certificate in Non-profit Management from Virginia Commonwealth University.

She lives in Manakin-Sabot with her husband, Wojciech.

To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter, please visit http://www.alz.org/grva.

August 2015 Education Programs

EducationInformationForBlog

Dementia: The Basics
August 6th; 5:30-7pm
Alzheimer’s Association Office – DeHardit House
7335 Lewis Avenue
Gloucester, VA 23061
Please call 804-695-9382 for more information or to register.

Living with Alzheimer’s: Late Stage for Caregivers
St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church
9801 Fort King Road
Richmond, VA 23229

August 6th; 6-8pm
Part 1: Changes in the Disease and Care

August 13th; 6-8pm
Part 2: Resources and Decisions

Legal and Financial Advice with Elizabeth McMaster, Esq.
August 20th; 1-3pm
Spring Arbor of Fredericksburg
5308 River Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Please call 540-370-0835 for more information or to register.

August 2015 Support Groups – Richmond and Tri-Cities

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August 3rd; 10am
For Caregivers
Mt. Vernon Baptist Church
11220 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059
Please call Jessica Samet, 804-967-2580, for more information.

August 4th; 10:30am
For Caregivers
Second Branch Baptist Church
12217 Second Branch Road
Chesterfield, VA 23838
Please call Edith Byrnes, 804-271-4441, or Sharon Condrey, 804-590-9305, for more information.

August 4th; 3pm
For Caregivers
First Baptist Church
401 N. Second Avenue
Hopewell, VA 23860
Please call Blanche Castelow, 804-748-5585, or June Gilliam, 804-748-6668, for more information.

August 4th; 7pm
For Caregivers
First Baptist Church
800 Thompson Street
Ashland, VA 23005
Please call Bob Junod, 804-752-2219, for more information.

August 6th; 6pm
For Caregivers
Good Shepherd Baptist Church
1127 N. 28th Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Please call Wanda Hunt, 804-305-8394, for more information.

August 11th; 7pm
For Adult Children
Bon Air Methodist Church
1645 Buford Road
N. Chesterfield, VA 23235
Please call Lynda Gormus, 804-320-0619, or Erin Davidson, 804-514-2142, for more information.

August 12th; 9:30am
For Caregivers
Hanover Adult Day Center
7231 Stonewall Parkway
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
Please call Vivian Bagby, 804-321-1649, or Barbara Allen, 804-782-1942, for more information.

August 12th; 10am
For Caregivers
New Life United Methodist Church
900 Old Hundred Road
Midlothian, VA 23114
Please call Bob Schaefer, 804-310-7991, or Leigh Hilldrup, 804-839-0236, for more information.

August 18th; 10am
For Caregivers
Lakewood Manor
1900 Lauderdale Drive
Henrico, VA 23238
Please call Beth Meyers, 804-967-2598, for more information.

August 18th; 2pm
For Caregivers
Bon Air Methodist Church
1645 Buford Road
Family Life Center, Blanchette Brown Room
N. Chesterfield, VA 23235
Please call Nancy Lentz, 804-967-2586, for more information.

August 18th; 7pm
For Caregivers
Brandermill Woods Health Care Center
2100 Brandermill Parkway
Midlothian, VA 23112
Please call Merle Kahn, 804-967-2575, for more information.

August 20th; 7pm
For Caregivers
Lucy Corr Village
6800 Lucy Corr Court
Chesterfield, VA 23832
Please call Blanche Castelow, 804-748-5585, or Edith Byrnes, 804-271-4441, for more information.

August 22nd; 12pm
For Caregivers
First Union Baptist Church
3510 Dill Road
Richmond, VA 23222
Please call Jacki Page, 804-321-2573, for more information.

August 25th; 6pm
For Caregivers
St. Mary’s Hopsital
5801 Bremo Road, Room 163
Richmond, VA 23226
Please call Mary Ann Johnson, 804-967-2582, for more information.

August 27th; 1pm
For Caregivers
Chickahominy YMCA
5401 Whiteside Road
Sandston, VA 23150
Please call Connie Tucker, 804-241-2056, or Beth Meyers, 804-967-2598, for more information.

August 27th, 1:30pm
Early Stage for Caregivers and Persons with Dementia
Please Call the Chapter Office, 804-967-2580, for more information.

Younger-Onset Group
This is a Support Group for individuals who were diagnosed with a dementia disease under the age of 65. For more information on this group, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter office at 804-967-2580.

August 2015 Support Groups – Fredericksburg

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August 4th; 10am
For Caregivers
Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center
2nd Floor Conference Room
4600 Spotsylvania Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Please contact Lori Myers, 540-370-0835, for more information.

August 10th; 6:30pm
For Caregivers and Persons with Dementia
Please call the Chapter Office, 540-370-0835, for more information.

August 18th; 1:30pm
For Caregivers
Homecare America
2017 Plank Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Please contact Lori Myers, 540-370-0835, for more information.

August 18th; 7pm
For Caregivers
Carriage Hill Health & Rehabilitation Center
6106 Health Center Lane
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Please contact Judy Scheibe, 540-898-1378, for more information.

August 2015 Support Groups – Middle Peninsula and Nothern Neck

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August 4th; 6pm
For Caregivers
The Orchard
62 Delfae Drive
Warsaw, VA 22572
Respite available with reservation.
Please call Carolyn Costello, 804-615-1117, for more information.

August 10th; 11am
For Caregivers
Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury
132 Lancaster Drive
Irvington, VA 22489
No respite available.
Please call Ellie Galloway, 804-695-9382, for more information.

August 12th; 10:30am
For Caregivers
Alzheimer’s Association Office – DeHardit House
7335 Lewis Avenue
Gloucester, VA 23061
No respite available.
Please contact Ted Leonard, 804-642-9189, for more information.

August 18th; 10:30am
For Caregivers
Harmony Grove Baptist Church
7722 Gen. Puller Hwy
Topping, VA 23169
Respite available with reservation.
Please contact Barbara Swain, 804-832-1571, or Lisa Jones, 804-695-9008, for more information.

August 19th; 9am
Early Stage – For Persons with Dementia
Call the Alzheimer’s Association, 804-695-9382, for more information.

August 20th; 6pm
For Caregivers
Alzheimer’s Association Office – DeHardit House
7335 Lewis Avenue
Gloucester, VA 23061
No respite available.
Please contact Ellie Galloway, 804-695-9382, for more information