Alzheimer’s fund-raiser held

Pictured left to right, Mark Spirk of Brookdale Centennial Park, Joellen Justice of Brookdale Hospice, Tambi Spirk of Brookdale Englewood with granddaughter Sophia Knaier, Brookdale Englewood Executive Director Charlie Thompson with his wife Corissa and daughters Sophia (on bike) and Maya.

ENGLEWOOD — Brookdale employees led by Team Captain Mark Spirk raised more than $1,000 for Alzheimer’s research during a fund-raiser Saturday at Kroger Marketplace.

People bid on various donated gift certificates provided by 16 local businesses. People bought a chance to win one of the gift certificates or merchandise provided by local businesses.

Brookdale employees rode stationary bikes in conjunction with the “Longest Day” theme, as the fund-raiser was held on the summer solstice. Employees were at Kroger from sunrise to sunset riding the stationary bike and manning a booth outside the entrance during the event.

“We’d like to thank all of the local businesses that supported us for this fund-raiser. It was a huge success,” said Mark Spirk. “We look for this event to get even bigger next year and would love to have the support of the entire community. We’d like to give a special thank you to Kroger for allowing us to stage the event at their front entrance.”

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.

Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.