Efforts underway to raise Alzheimer's awareness in underserved Florida communities.
MIAMI – For over a decade, a converted motor home called the Brain Bus has been making the rounds across Southwest Florida providing education and resources on the spot for people concerned about Alzheimer's disease.
A recent grant from the state provided the funding necessary for the Brain Bus to travel to every county in Florida.
"It’s definitely needed. You go through and talk to someone about the disease process and they say 'I wish I would have known this,'" said Rob Harris, a dementia specialist with the Alzheimer's Association of Florida.
Weston, Florida, resident Berth Brooks said greater education and awareness about the disease is desperately needed. She began searching for information when her husband Charles was diagnosed four years ago.
"The journey is one that’s so hard to prepare yourself for. You can only over-educate yourself so that you know what you’re talking about when someone asks you about it," she said.
More than 10% of people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer's disease and it affects nearly half of all people over the age of 85.
"I saw the transition from him being able to drive to seeing him lock himself out of the house and forget where he was going and trying to say words but not being able to say words," she said.
Brooks' passion to help her husband has led her to become Broward County's No. 1 Alzheimer's Association fundraiser.
"I have thrown myself into the Alzheimer's Association to find out what I can learn, where to go. I joined a support group that has kept me afloat and I believe to this day that without that support group, I probably would have just hid somewhere," Brooks said.
She's glad to see outreach efforts like the Brain Bus providing help and support in the community.
"If we reach one person to help them, it's worthwhile," said Harris.
If you're interested in joining in the effort to raise funds for Alzheimer's research, below are details to upcoming events:
Broward Alzheimer's Walk:
Saturday, Nov. 9, at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. Registration starts at 7 a.m. Opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Sign up by clicking here.
Miami-Dade Alzheimer’s Walk:
Saturday, Nov. 16, at Maurice A. Ferrer Park (formerly Museum Park) in Miami. Registration starts at 8 a.m. Opening ceremony at 9 a.m. Sign up by clicking here.
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