Alzheimer’s awareness one step at a time

Purple was the color of the evening for those in Jeffords Hall at the “Alzheimer’s: Awareness to Action” Soundings presentation on March 15.

Hosted by the Vermont chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the event aimed to define the disease and possible warning signs, as well as offer audience members ways to get involved.

As mentioned in the presentation, Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative brain disease that typically impacts individuals above the age of 40 and causes those afflicted to lose important cognitive functions such as memory, speech and retention of information.

Development Manager KJ Doyle, Policy Director Meg Polyte, and University of Vermont student intern Lindsey Lefevre, were the night’s representatives—all proudly adorned in purple, the color symbolizing awareness of the disease.

“Alzheimer’s is sort of thought of as an old person disease. But as we saw in this room, probably half the people raised their hands with a connection to Alzheimer’s,” Lefevre said. “We’re really trying to get college-age students to start having these types of conversations and be more knowledgeable.”

Other major points from the night included discussion of legislation currently being reviewed in Vermont that would appropriate funds to Alzheimer’s research, how to appropriately interact with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, and what local and national events are available to those interested in getting involved.

In addition to the annual “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” set for next September and the national “Longest Day” campaign in June, the group hosted a “Bridging the Gap” college student roundtable on March 28, the day the Spartan went to print.

“[This event] is really great—informing more of the college population on how they can get involved and help to end Alzheimer’s,” junior nursing student Emily Benz said after the event. “I hope other college students walk away knowing more about Alzheimer’s and dementia and how they can help themselves and others.”

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