World Alzheimer’s Day is celebrated on September 21st each year. On this day, the world concentrates its efforts on creating awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is among the most prevalent forms of dementia; a set of disorders that disrupt mental function.
Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford, 21st District); Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield); and Mayor Laura Hoydick joined together with service providers, advocates, and those living with Alzheimer’s Disease at Sunset Shores Adult Day Center in Stratford on Thursday to heighten awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and show support for the more than 6.2 million Americans living with it during World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
The lawmakers were joined by Gladys Soto, President of Sunset Shores; Marie Allen, President and CEO of the Southwestern CT Agency on Aging (SWCAA); Christy Kovel, Director of Public Policy of the Alzheimer’s Association – Connecticut Chapter; the Baldwin Center; service providers; and those served by The Kennedy Center, which runs a one-of-a-kind day program for individuals with disabilities also experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease.
“I want to recognize and thank the many amazing advocates, service providers, caregivers and those living with Alzheimer’s disease who came together to raise awareness and show support for the 80,000 people in Connecticut living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia,” said Senator Kelly. “Alzheimer’s disease is an insidious disease for those who suffer from it and their caregivers and loved ones alike. Witnessing the loss of a loved one who slowly slips away, even as they are still physically present, is difficult to experience as a human being. But that person who you love never goes away. This month it is important to make sure training, awareness, services, and information on Alzheimer’s disease are available and accessible, and important to talk about how that person who is experiencing the disease is still present even if they cannot communicate out. I want to thank all those who came together, Sunset Shores for hosting us at their great facility, and all who work every day as caregivers and advocates,” said Kelly.
“We are here to recognize and support the 6.2 million Americans who struggle with Alzheimer’s. We also want to account for the countless family members who struggle with the illness of their loved ones as well,” said Senator Hwang. “This is an illness that impacts the most critical element of our human connectivity.”
“We have such a network of people who are caring for others,” said Mayor Laura Hoydick. “Whether you are on the first line and you are giving direct service, whether you are at an agency or an advocacy group setting up funding, programs, and education, or whether you are in the legislature, as Senator Kelly and Hwang have done an outstanding job advocating for families, for seniors and for health. We are appreciative and thankful to the team who takes care of those who need our help.”
“It’s so important for the community to know that there are places they can go for caregivers to get the support they need,” said Marie Allen, President and CEO of SWCAA.
“We’ve been operating at this location for over 25 years,” said Gladys Soto, President of Sunset Shores who highlighted adult day care programs in the state of Connecticut and the resource they are in their communities. “We want to recognize the families and relentless caregiving struggle that they go through at the different stages. Adult day cares have evolved into a very comprehensive and most cost-effective care option in a safe community providing individualized medical monitoring, personal care, meals, meaningful social activity, giving folks a sense of purpose and the ability to thrive.”
Christy Kovel, Director of Public Policy of the Alzheimer’s Association – Connecticut Chapter discussed services available and the work of the Alzheimer’s Association, “We have a 24 hour helpline, we provide support groups throughout the state, also groups for people in the early stages of the disease. And we provide care consultation, we work with health systems, and we also are the largest private nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s disease research, which is really important as we’re looking forward to treatments and one day a cure for this devastating disease.”
MaryPat DeCarlo, Vice President of Adult Services at The Kennedy Center discussed the services provided throughout the region by The Kennedy Center, “We pride ourselves on doing special training and working with those with Alzheimer’s that also have a developmental disability so there’s that dual challenge.” She also explained how individuals with Down Syndrome are known to develop Alzheimer’s at an early age.
“We do everything that we can in order to better the quality of life,” said Allison Scudder, Director of Adult Services at The Kennedy Center where she works with both day programs and residential homes who have individuals with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Also joining today’s event was Paul Bochicchi, Senior Manager of Adult Services at The Kennedy Center, and two Kennedy Center program participants who also have Alzheimer’s disease, David and Allan.
Learn more about help and services:
- Alzheimer’s Association – Connecticut Chapter https://www.alz.org/ct
- Southwestern CT Agency on Aging https://www.swcaa.org/about/
- Sunset Shores Adult Day Care https://sunsetshoresct.com/
- The Kennedy Center https://www.thekennedycenterinc.org/
- The Baldwin Center https://www.stratfordct.gov/content/39832/39846/39937/41201.aspx