For Gene Cash, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s represents the care he’s given his wife, Betty, for seven years.
The Sarpy County Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held at Prairie Queen Recreation Area, near 132nd and Highway 370 in Papillion, Sunday.
Hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association, the walk begins at 8 a.m. with registration, followed by a ceremony at 9 a.m. and the walk starting at 9:30.
Gene, who is from Bellevue, said he first noticed Betty’s memory fade in 2012. He took her to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for evaluation, where she was diagnosed.
“Afterward, I could tell there were signs I hadn’t picked up on earlier,” he said.
According to alz.org, there are 35,000 Nebraskans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s and about 34 percent of caregivers are the same age.
“One out of two people will require long-term care,” he said. “That’s a scary number.
“I took care of [Betty] by myself for a number of years. For early onset, it’s not too difficult.”
Betty now has a caregiver and their home has a chair lift so she can get around without the need to relocate, which can be traumatic on Alzheimer’s patients.
To find out more about the disease, Gene attends a support group in Bellevue, as well as stays in contact with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Nebraska chapter.
“Those are helpful to talk about your situation based on experiences,” he said. “It helps in a confidential session to talk about life and how to help someone else. With the Alzheimer’s Association, there’s tons of information for someone interested.”
Gene said he intends to attend the walk this year to support Betty, as well as other Alzheimer’s patients.
“It’s a great activity and it’s easy,” he said. “ You also have a chance to exchange ideas with other people in the same boat you are.”
Gene said the walk is a “painless way” to support the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Every single dollar, every single participant helps,” he said.