VOL. 115 | NO. 46 | Friday, March 9, 2001
Friends and families host remembrance evening for those with Alzheimers disease
Gala on tap for those touched by Alzheimers
By MARY DANDO
The Daily News
While more than 21,000 individuals in the Mid-South have Alzheimers, about 45,000 people are impacted by it, a number expected to triple by 2010.
Alzheimers disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects the memory, thinking and behavior of older adults, leading to complete dependence and death.
According to the national Alzheimers Association, the course of the disease lasts from three to 20 years with symptoms progressing in three stages.
Alzheimers disease is also the third most expensive disease to manage after heart disease and cancer. With that in mind, and to pay tribute to both those with the disease and the many that look after them, the Memphis Area Alzheimers Association is holding its annual gala "An Evening To Remember" at the Jay Etkin Art Gallery, 409 S. Main St., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 1.
Tickets are $50 each. Paulettes, Napa Cafe and the Three Oaks Grill are catering the buffet. There will be an open wine bar and swing band Emeralds & Diamonds will provide the music.
The organizing chairman of this years event is Carol Elkins whose mother, Lois Dichtel, was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. Both of Dichtels parents died of the disease, but Elkins said her mother, 71, now lives in the Parkview and is still able to live independently.
Elkins is a property developer "on a very small scale" who worked with her mother as a mortgage broker. In moving her mother to the Parkview, though her mother is not on the assisted-living floor, because of the 24-hour nursing capability, she is happy to know the staff gives her mother her medicine three times a day and call her for meals in the dining room, she said.
"Shes still kind of getting along on her own, but were just trying to keep the quality and independence of her life as long as we can," Elkins said.
With a certain twist of serendipity, Dichtel already has good memories of the Parkview. As Lois Sawyer when she married her husband, they held their wedding reception in the Parkview when it was one of Memphiss grand hotels.
Elkins was already a member of the association before her mother was diagnosed because both her grandparents had died of the disease.
"I didnt volunteer but I would attend events. In fact, I took my mother to the Memory Walk the first or second year they had it long before she was even diagnosed," she said.
She started volunteering more than a year ago after attending last years "An Evening to Remember. " She helped out with Memory Walk, a major Alzheimers event held in the fall, and then was selected to chair this years Evening to Remember.
Elkins started her own company about 10 years ago. She said making her own hours means that she is able to devote a great deal of time to her mother.
As a caregiver herself, she is very aware that 40 percent of caregivers of those with Alzheimers die of stress-related diseases before the person they are taking care of dies.
One of the goals of the Memphis areas office is to educate caregivers to more effectively manage patient symptoms and to provide supportive services for patients, family members and caregivers.
As far as organizing "An Evening to Remember," Elkins said things have gone smoothly so far.
"Theyre giving me a lot of help and its going pretty well," she said.
As well as the food, "An Evening to Remember" will include a silent auction of items donated as part of the fund-raising effort.
Some of these items include gift certificates from Jimmy Ishii for his Memphis restaurants; a piece of jewelry from Yacoubian Jewelers; a sculpture from Roy Tamboli; airline tickets from both American and Northwest airlines; and a stained glass piece by Joey Williams.
Sports fans will also be interested in bidding on a signed University of Memphis football donated by Coach Tommy West and a signed Tigers basketball donated by Coach John Calipari, as well as two hours of instruction for four youths with each.
Tickets are available by calling the Memphis Area Alzheimers office at 565-0011 or by dropping by 2600 Poplar Ave., Suite 400.