Submitted by Alzheimer Society of Washington
Two local community leaders recently joined Alzheimer Society of Washington’s (ASW) board of directors. They will help guide the Bellingham nonprofit’s efforts to provide hope, support and resources to people of all ages that are affected by dementia related diseases.
New to the board are Barry M. Meyers who is a certified elder law attorney. Meyers is a member of the local Elder Service Providers organization and has served on other non-profit boards in Whatcom County. Meyers has joined the ASW board to share his broad expertise about legal issues that affect older adults.
Beverly Brownrigg also stepped in to serve. After spending 11 years helping care for her husband while he lived in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, she offers a unique perspective into the needs of local families and their care providers.
“I understand the importance of dementia education and caregiver support in our community so I am happy to lend my voice and experiences to the ASW board. Past volunteer opportunities with the group have been meaningful and rewarding – I look forward to serving on a deeper level in the months ahead,” said Brownrigg.
Meyers and Brownrigg will be working with fellow board members Josh Howell of Meadow Greens, long-time ASW volunteer, Josselyn Winslow, Jay Johnston of Bank of the Pacific, Glenda McLachlan, RN at PeaceHealth Adult Day Health Center, Melissa Nelson of Life Care Center of Skagit County, Whatcom County Sheriff Deputy George Ratayczak, retired business manager Greg Rice and Selena Vogel of Walgreens IV and RT Services.
Experts report that more than 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease and that number is expected to triple by 2050. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, doubles every five years after age 65. With the increasing number of care partners dealing with a spouse or parent, the need for education, resources and support on a local level is extremely important—both for the person with dementia and for their care partners.
“There is still a stigma associated with Alzheimer’s but with the media coverage of late, forms of dementia are becoming more prevalent in the news. Now there are real faces and well-known names associated with this devastating disease,” says Kathy Sitker, executive director of ASW.
“We continue to raise awareness locally and let families know what can be expected. That is why our educational support groups are so important—they remind everyone that they not alone in this journey.”
When asked about challenges the board faces in the coming year, Sitker says, “Raising funds to continue the group’s work is top on the list. We do not charge for most of our services. We depend on the kindness and generosity of our community and we remind all that any money raised for ASW stays right here in Whatcom County.”
The Alzheimer Society of Washington, founded in 1983, provides hundreds of hours of education and support each year. Learn about their services, volunteer opportunities and upcoming community awareness events, including Miles for Memories, online here.