We Walk Across America to End Alzheimer's because the disease weighs heavy on emotions and finances. With one in 10 Americans age 65 and older living with Alzheimer's, it's hard to find anyone who has not been exposed to the devastation it can leave it in its wake.
For 47 years, Financial Advisor Jim Docksey of Chippewa Falls, WI, has begrudgingly known Alzheimer's first-hand. "Three women important to me have either had or are suffering with Alzheimer's – my grandmother, my former BOA and now my mother-in-law," he says.
He describes the disease as "the seven-second cycle." Seven seconds of memory – just enough time for a simple question and answer before the cycle starts again. The repeated questions, the forgotten answers, the repeated questions . . . It's draining.
Jim was 11 when, during a family visit to his paternal grandparents, he first experienced Alzheimer's. Grandpa was in good health and the primary caregiver for Grandma whose Alzheimer's disallowed her from recognizing him or his parents. "Though at one point as we were packing to leave, I heard Grandma say, 'John (Jim's dad), what are you doing here?' That was it. A moment of clarity, and it left just as fast as it came," Jim says.
He recalls sitting for Grandma while his parents took Grandpa golfing – the first reprieve from his caregiving duties in years. Jim recalls worrying that Grandma might wander away, a monumental concern for an 11-year-old. And he remembers Grandpa's guilt years later when he finally moved her into a long-term care facility.
In addition to the three women close to him, Jim has watched the disease impact clients, colleagues and friends. He's helped a client locate a wandering wife and watched a local business close because of early onset Alzheimer's . Like many others, "I can name a dozen of these stories," he says.
Far too many people are impacted by this dreadful disease, and the numbers are growing. Every 65 seconds, another American is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Association ®. Our Walk Across America to End Alzheimer's can bring awareness to the communities we serve about the disease, its impact, research being done to combat the disease and services available to those affected.
There are 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, and the disease impacts millions more. There are family and friends who grieve the slow deterioration of the people they once knew. There are the caregivers whose own health often suffers for the stress from their role. And there are the beneficiaries and charities whose intended gifts are often ripped away to pay for medical care. Day after day, Alzheimer's personally affects our financial advisors, branch office administrators, associates, clients and communities.
We walk to raise awareness not only of the devastation of the disease but also of the path forward to one day see its eradication. Awareness is the step we take with Walk Across America, but it's just one way we at Edward Jones have joined the fight to end Alzheimer's. We also are involved in supporting research and raising funds.
To learn more or discover how you can participate in Walk Across America or other Edward Jones initiatives for Alzheimer's, contact your local Edward Jones branch office.