Walk to End Alzheimer’s Funds Local Programs

Memory Forum support group

SIOUX FALLS, SD- South Dakota has the third highest death rate in the country when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. That is why the Alzheimer’s Association of South Dakota is putting more resources into helping those affected and their families. One example is a group dedicated to helping support those in the early stages of the disease. The Memory Forum, as it is called, meets the first Wednesday of every month at the All-Day Cafe to have dinner and socialize.

Richard Butz and his wife Anne are two of the members. Doctors diagnosed Anne two years ago at age 56. Richard says they realized something was going on so they sought help. He says Alzheimer’s isn’t just about forgetting things, it can also impact a person’s cognitive abilities. Richard says they have created true friendships in the Memory Forum and the group support helps them both cope with the changes.

“So you are meeting with people on a regular basis who are going through the same path that you are. You can ask them questions and they’ll say ‘Oh yeah that’s happening with me too.’ Or ‘Oh yeah I’m really tired now or it takes me until 10:30 to 11 o’clock in the morning until I’m really clear,’ and other people are experiencing those same things , it really helps,” said Richard.

Anne’s Alzheimer’s diagnoses caught them by surprise and left them looking for answers. The effects of the disease tend to make people withdraw. However, she says the Memory Forum gatherings give both of them a chance to share laughs and stories. And gets them out of the house.

“It’s been wonderful for us,” said Anne. “It’s almost like a family now where before we were just shocked and didn’t know what to do.”

The Memory Forum is supported by funds raised during the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It takes place Saturday, September 14th in the Cherapa Place parking lot. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. Anyone with an interest in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is encouraged to attend. Check out ALZ.org.

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