Special Walk to End Alzheimer’s Update

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As many of you know, the months of August and September are busy times for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. The 11 Walks to End Alzheimer’s around the state contribute a significant portion of our Chapter’s revenues, and enable us to continue to provide education, programs and services – all at no charge – to Colorado families. In addition, we support national research to find the cure for this dreaded disease.

For those of you who have participated in or supported one of the Colorado Walks, you have our heartfelt thanks. For everyone else, there is still time to participate in one of the four upcoming Walks, sponsor a Walk team, or make a donation to ensure that no family facing Alzheimer’s has to face it without the services of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Upcoming Walks

DenverThe Denver Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, at City Park. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and the Walk starts just after 9 o’clock. We are expecting 10,000 Walkers for Colorado’s premier Walk to End Alzheimer’s and one of the top five Walks in the entire country. The event currently stands at 53 percent of the $1.39 million goal. For details on the Walk or to make a donation, click here.

Colorado Springs – This Walk also will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, at America the Beautiful Park. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk starts just after 9 a.m.  This event currently stands at 57 percent of the $195,000 goal. To learn more about the Colorado Springs Walk or make a donation, click here.

Southwest Colorado/Cortez – The third Walk on Saturday, Sept. 17, will be held at Cortez City Park, with registration opening at 8:45 a.m. and the Walk at 9:15 a.m. This event currently stands at 57 percent of its $30,000 goal. Click here for more details or to donate to the Cortez Walk.

Larimer County/Loveland – The final Colorado Walk of 2016 will be held Saturday, Sept. 24, at Loveland’s Chapungu Sculpture Park, with registration opening at 9 a.m. and the Walk at 10 a.m. To register for this Walk or make a donation, click here. The Larimer Walk is at 61 percent of its $185,000 goal.

Recent Walks

Seven Walks to End Alzheimer’s have been held throughout the state already this year, beginning with the Aug. 13 Boulder Walk and including events in Greeley, Sterling, Steamboat Springs, Fort Morgan, Grand Junction and Pueblo.

Collectively, the 11 Colorado Walks are at __ percent of their goal. Check out some photos of the Boulder Walk, and be sure to like us on Facebook to see photos of all the other Walks.

“We are hopeful that those with a family member with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, or those the Association has helped in the past, have an understanding and appreciation for the services that all Coloradoans can receive at no charge, from our 24/7 bilingual Helpline to education to support groups to a wide range of programs,” said Linda Mitchell, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. “In addition, to enabling us to provide services locally, your contributions help further our national research efforts to find a prevention, treatment and cure for this deadly disease.”

To support any of the Walks, or to make a donation to support Alzheimer’s Association programs and services, click here.

Alzheimer’s Facts

  • 67,000 Coloradoans are living with Alzheimer’s – a total expected to top 92,000 by 2025, a 37% increase
    • 4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s – projected to top 16 million by 2050
  • 239,000 Colorado caregivers provided 272 million hours of unpaid care valued at $3.3 billion in 2015
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. – it kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined
    • Alzheimer’s is the only leading disease without a prevention, treatment or cure
  • African-American and Hispanic adults are twice as likely and 1.5 times as likely, respectively, to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than white adults
  • More than 1 in 5 Medicare dollars currently are spent on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias – totals expected to reach $1 of $3 by 2050


How To Choose The Right Care Community For A Person With Dementia

Amy MillerAmy Miller, LCSW, is the Director of Family Services at the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter, where she meets with families and helps develop a plan of care to address short-term needs and long-term goals. Her background in working with older adults includes managing a Memory Care Unit at a Skilled Nursing Facility, as well as working with care managers & health clinics to provide information and support to older adults and their families.


One of the most common topics in family care consultations is how to go about choosing the right care community for a person with dementia. The process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, but having the right information will save families unnecessary time and disappointment. Here are the five steps for selecting the right care community:

Step 1: Determine what the person’s level of need is. Assisted Livings offer a lower level of supervision and medical attention than Skilled Nursing Facilities. The person might need Memory Care if they frequently try to leave and are at risk of wandering. Click here to learn more.

Step 2: Determine how you will be paying for care. Assisted Livings average about $3500 a month, but costs can increase quickly if you need to add on personalized services. Skilled nursing averages $7700 a month. Generally, a person can pay out of pocket, with a long-term care insurance policy, with VA benefits, or through Long-term Care Medicaid. Keep in mind not every community accepts Medicaid. If you need assistance determining how you will pay, the Alzheimer’s Association offers a free Legal and Financial Planning class.

Step 3: Call the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline (800.272.3900) to get a list of care communities in your area. Find the communities that work based on level of care, payer source accepted, and location. Call to see if there is a waitlist, and if you are paying with Medicaid check if the community requires you to pay out of pocket for a period of time first before you can use your Medicaid benefits.

Step 4: Tour three to five places. Use the following checklists from the ombudsman’s office when touring to get a feel for the community:

Once you have visited a few places, call the Area Agency on Aging and speak to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman to see if there have been frequent complaints or serious issues on their Health Department surveys.

Step 5: Tour the places that have passed your screening again. At least once arrive without an appointment, ideally during the evening or weekends when most of the management team isn’t there. Visit during a mealtime, and observe how staff are able to manage during their busiest time of day. See if there are visiting family members that you can talk to about their experience.

Trusting a care community to care for your loved one is difficult. It can be confusing to know where to start, but the Alzheimer’s Association is here to help. If you’d like more information on choosing a care community, you can contact the Helpline 24/7 at 800.272.3900 and speak to a counselor over the phone or set up an in-office Care Consultation to create a step-by-step action plan specific to your family’s situation.

How to choose the right care community for a person with dementia

Quick Guide To Helping Families Select A Care Community:

  • Determine the level of need (ALF, Memory Care, Skilled) and how you will be paying (LTC insurance, VA benefits, private pay, Medicaid).
  • Go through our list, finding places that will work in terms of location, payer source, and level of need.
  • Call and ask about any waitlists.
  • Tour 3-5 places once. Get a feeling for the community using our checklists of things to look for.
  • Any contenders that are still in the running after the first visit: call the long-term care ombudsman to see if they have any frequent complaints from residents or families or serious deficiencies from the Health Department.
  • Tour again, this time unannounced. Go during the evening or weekend, when most managers have gone home. If possible, go during meal time to see the staff when the demand on their time is highest, and see if they are still able to interact and take the time with residents that is needed.