Concordia Walks to End Alzheimer’s Disease

Concordia staff participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's charity event

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and Concordia always takes this time to reflect on the many ways we can support those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This year, we’re focusing on our involvement in the national Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s®. The event, held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, is the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Concordia supports these events in a variety of ways at many of our locations, and staff at the two communities that have participated the longest shared why they keep going back.

Finding Community

“The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is impactful because of the camaraderie,” said Kathryn “Kathy” Flickinger, medical record technician and clerk at Concordia at Bethlen. “It’s nice to see so many families coming out to support their loved ones, and we’re there as staff to show support for our residents and patients – and our loved ones, too.”

Concordia at Bethlen has been attending the Westmoreland County Walk to End Alzheimer’s for at least 19 years. The events usually feature more than just the walk, including speakers and presentations, informational tables, activities and more, and this year’s event will take place in September. Kathy’s mother, Alice, also used to attend with the group.

“She had vascular dementia, and she ended up living at Concordia at Bethlen during her last days,” Kathy said. “She really loved going to the event, and we had a wonderful time together.”

Concordia staff and family attend the Walk to End Alzheimer's event in Westmoreland County wearing purple t-shirts
Alice, Kathy and Concordia at Bethlen Administrator Molly Stiles

Members of the caregiver support group held at Concordia at Bethlen on Tuesdays have also attended the event with the group.

“It’s good to be around so many people who know what you’re going through, so it’s great for that group to participate,” Kathy said. “Everyone can see ways that other people are making it through.”

Many of the Concordia at Bethlen staff who attend are also walking for the individuals they take care of every day. The community offers retirement living, personal care, short-term rehabilitation and long-term nursing care.

Concordia staff and family participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's event in Westmoreland County
Kathy participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s with her family

“A lot of our residents and patients are dealing with dementia of some kind, whether it’s early-onset Alzheimer’s or another type,” Kathy said. “These walks are a beautiful way to honor all the people in our lives who have dealt with dementia – and to honor their caregivers. It’s just a great way to support them and raise funds for this amazing cause.”

Related: How to Detect the Early Signs of Dementia

Setting Meaningful Goals

All the funds raised at Walk to End Alzheimer’s events go to fuel the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association: to help raise awareness and advance Alzheimer’s critical care, support and research. According to its website, more than 55 million people are living with dementia, with 7 million of those affected are in the U.S.

At Concordia at Sumner, fundraising for their local Akron Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a year-round effort. This year’s event will be held in October.

“Our goal is to raise $5,000 this year, and we’re at $2,000 now,” said Rowena Wilkins, director of marketing at Concordia at Sumner. “We partnered with a store to sell apparel to staff and residents with a portion going to the walk, and we also sell opportunities to win a variety of great baskets. Throughout the rest of the year we have an event each month, such as selling pins and temporary tattoos, hosting an ice cream sundae bar, holding a cornhole tournament and more. We like to make it fun to support the cause.”

Concordia staff and family members participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Akron, Ohio
Rowena (in the red hat) with Concordia at Sumner staff and family at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Concordia at Sumner has participated in the walk for over 15 years, and staff enthusiastically show their support. Many of them work directly with residents and patients in retirement living, assisted living, short-term rehabilitation and long-term nursing care.

“In this industry, we are around residents and their families who have had to navigate the challenges of this disease every day,” Rowena explained. “Everyone knows someone personally who is suffering or works with someone who is suffering.”

Related: Tips for Handling a Dementia or Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

The fundraising brings the Concordia at Sumner community together, whether they walk in the event or not.

“The day of the walk, the whole environment is fun yet meaningful, and it really hits home to so many,” Rowena said. “To me personally, it’s my way to contribute to those residents and their families who are or have gone through difficult times. It is my way to represent my residents.”

Concordia staff and family members stand behind a blue Concordia table at the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Akron, Ohio
Rowena with Concordia at Sumner staff and families at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Many senior care communities like Concordia offer specialized memory care in a safe and secure atmosphere. Offered at Concordia of Fox Chapel, Concordia of the South Hills and Concordia at Villa St. Joseph, memory care at Concordia is carried out by a compassionate and highly trained team that values each individual and his or her needs. We also offer adult day services at our Concordia at Cabot campus, which assists caregivers in meeting the needs of a person with physical problems or diminished reasoning skills.

If you or a loved one is facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or other form of dementia and needs long-term care, feel free to contact us any time through our online contact form or by calling our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571.

You can also learn more about our memory care facilities and all that they have to offer. For more information on other services we offer, such as long-term nursing care, in-home care and hospice care, visit the care levels page of our website.

Founded in 1881, Concordia Lutheran Ministries is a faith-based, CARF-accredited Aging Services Network and recipient of the inaugural Pennsylvania Department of Aging Excellence in Quality Care Award. As one of the largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country, the organization serves 50,000 people annually through in-home care and inpatient locations.

Get Updates From Concordia

There is always a LOT happening at Concordia! Would you like to stay up-to-date with our news and events? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.