This year, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will return to having a traditional walk while also keeping the virtual component the organization adopted last year to accommodate the safety protocols and guidelines around the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are going to be in person but we’re also going to continue our virtual option,” Lori Green, area director for the El Dorado Walk to End Alzheimer’s, said. “So if there is someone not ready to come back into a large group then you will still be able to walk in your neighborhood, using the app.”
Green gave a presentation to the El Dorado Kiwanis Club Wednesday morning, where she talked about the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association and some details about this year’s walk.
Last year, the Association encouraged those that wanted to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to walk in their neighborhood, on sidewalks and/or local trails to avoid the assemblages of large groups and the potential for people to spread or contract COVID-19.
While the decision has been made to go back to a centralized walk, where the walk in El Dorado will take place is yet to be decided.
“Our association is putting safety first and has criteria that we want met before we solidify a place,” Green said. “So I’m still searching for that perfect place in El Dorado. We’re looking at the Murphy Arts District, where we’ve held our walk in the past, but we’re also looking at some other locations because when we come together, we will practice social distancing and our tents will be further apart than they typically are. So we are looking for that larger place.”
Green also shared that when one signs up for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is scheduled for October 30, they will be one of the first to know the official location of the El Dorado walk. The official location will be sent in an email to participants.
Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care, support and research, according to their website.
Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that deteriorates one’s memory and other important mental functions; it gradually worsens over time. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 50 million people worldwide are living with the disease.
Green talked with the Kiwanis club about the four main tenets of the Alzheimer’s Association: research, care and support, advocacy and The Walk.
One update around the tenet of advocacy that Green shared was centered around H.R. 2517, the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act, that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives in April. Green said the bill and advocacy of the Alzheimer’s Association is to convince legislators, in part, to change how health care billing for Alzheimer’s patients is done.
“We want the billing system to be restructured so that doctors and hospitals aren’t billing for every individual thing,” Green said. “We want it to be a team approach. 95% of individuals living with Alzheimer’s have two or more diseases… When you have someone faced with many issues, we want a team in place with a plan so that the individual is not running from doctor to doctor because it is extremely difficult for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. So this plan would create one team for these individuals and make billing more efficient and streamlined for these patients and their caregivers.”
H.R. 2517 is currently in the House committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means.
To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association or to sign up for this year’s walk, visit act.alz.org. The Walk mobile app can be found on the Apple app store or on Google Play.