Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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November 9, 2012

Aspen Place to shine “The Light of Memory” on Alzheimer’s awareness

Greensburg — Nov. 29, in honor of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Aspen Place Health Campus of Greensburg will hold “The Light of Memory,” a formal ceremony to honor and remember people of the community who have been affected by Alzheimer’s.

According to Aspen Community Services Representative Erin Allen, the event is open to the entire community.

“We’ll be using white bags with white luminaries inside to set up The Light of Memory ceremony,” Allen explained, “Each bag will have the name of someone currently struggling with Alzheimer’s or who has passed away printed on the outside. We’ll take those bags and line them around the perimeter of our building.”

“We’re asking the community to supply the names to be printed on the bags,” Allen continued. “Anyone in Greensburg who’s dealt with or who’s dealing with Alzheimer’s is free to send us the name of a loved one with the disease or who passed away from it. Our goal is to reach 200 names.”

Allen anticipates the ceremony lasting around 30 minutes.

“We’ll have staff on hand, too, passing out purple ribbons, and we’ll have refreshments afterward,” she said. “Our staff will answer questions and disseminate information about this terrible disease.”

Michelle Weber, LPN, director of Aspen’s secure Alzheimer’s unit, will be on hand for The Light of Memory ceremony. She looks forward to helping educate the community about the dreaded disease.

“Events like this,” Weber said, “and general awareness of this disease is more important than ever, because its prevalence is increasing. Greater and greater numbers of people are getting it, and yet, there are still so many people out there who don’t know what it is. In the last few years, we’re starting to see younger and younger people develop Alzheimer’s, too — people in the 40s and 50s.”

As an example, Weber mentioned a 40-something-year-old woman she saw a few years ago who suddenly developed the disease without warning.

“It ended her career,” Weber said. “She had a history of it in her family, but you just don’t see it coming in someone so young. We don’t know why more people are getting it or why younger people are getting it, but people need to know this is happening; they need to understand this can happen in their own families. This disease can hit anyone, anytime. It can happen to you or to someone in your family.”

Added Allen, “Alzheimer’s is sometimes a ‘forgotten disease,’ too. People don’t want to deal with it, or they go into denial, and that’s why it’s so important to get the message out.”

“There’s a grieving process involved with Alzheimer’s,” Weber agreed. “Your loved one is technically still alive, but the disease transforms him or her into someone you feel you no longer know. It’s tough. It takes time and patience, love and understanding to come to terms with this.”

To reserve an illuminated bag in honor of a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or who’s died from it for The Light of Memory Ceremony, call or email Erin Allen at 812-527-2222 or erin.allen@aspenplacehc.com.

Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.

 

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