Darcy Schneider will be participating in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease at the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Lansing on September 24. But Schneider’s journey with Alzheimer’s began three years ago when her mom was diagnosed with the disease.
“We started noticing some symptoms and took her to see a neurologist,” says Schneider, Assistant Vice President in the Systems Innovation Group at Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®). “She was repeating herself, telling the same story over and over again, and then a couple of times, she’d be out visiting a relative and she’d call me and say ‘I’m on this road and it looks so different’ and I’d have to help orient her and get her home.”
Memory loss that disrupts daily life and confusion with time or place are two of the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2017 Facts & Figures report, there are more than 5 million Americans living with the disease, and over 15 million caregivers. In Michigan alone, there are over 180,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, and more than 511,000 caregivers like Schneider.
The youngest of six siblings, Schneider helped provide 24/7 care for her mother for several years until she began to decline more quickly and they could no longer care for her at home. Once the matriarch of the family who would do anything for her children and grandchildren, Schneider’s mother now needs help with the simplest of tasks. “Before I had this connection, I used to think Alzheimer’s just meant you forgot a few things, like who you talked to 10 minutes ago or where you put your car keys,” says Schneider. “I WISH that’s all it was.”
Schneider says that her employer was instrumental in getting her connected with the Alzheimer’s Association. Through Jackson’s board training program, she accepted an opportunity to serve on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter and got involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Lansing. Through Jackson, Schneider and her co-workers raised more than $50,000 for last year’s walk, a figure they’re hoping to top in 2017.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Lansing is one of 600 walks held annually nationwide, and is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
Schneider says that being involved with an organization that is leading the fight against Alzheimer’s is crucial. “It’s a great opportunity for me to get information that we need to help us in our situation, but I’m also glad that I can take any skills I have to help raise awareness. I truly feel that being a part of this cause helps other families, the people who haven’t been diagnosed yet, and the younger generations, so they don’t have to live through this.”
Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Lansing
Where: Lansing State Capitol
When: Sunday, September 24, 2017. Registration opens at 11:30am, the two-mile walk begins at 1:00pm.
Contact: Nicole Bebee – 517-999-3004 – firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about how to get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association, visit the Michigan Great Lakes Chapter at alz.org/mglc or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900. Participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s contributes to finding a cure and supporting those living with the disease. Join the fight by starting your own team at alz.org/walk.