Cynthia Widner Wall to named Chair, Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter Board of Directors.

The Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association today announced that Cynthia Widner Wall will be the newest board chair of the organization. Board members work to promote the organization and its many events to raise funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs.

Cynthia Widner Wall or Cindy, is committed to her community and serves several not for profit organizations.  Her involvement in organizations and causes related to Health and Welfare, Art and Theatre, Education, Diversity and Inclusion, and Business allow her a kinship for the people, needs and interests of our community.  Including the Alzheimer’s Association, she serves on the boards of Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Woodruff Art Center’s Alliance Theatre and Shepherd Center Foundation.

“Alzheimer’s is an individual and unique journey”, added Cindy.  “But not a journey that has to be traveled alone.  The Alzheimer’s Association supported and helped me on my journey with my Daddy.”

Cindy’s commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association became personal in 2009 when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and even more direct when he came to live with Cindy and her husband James in 2013.  In 2014, she was a Celebrity Dancer for the Alzheimer’s Association Dancing Stars Atlanta.  Then in 2015, as Chair of Dancing Stars, she significantly set the bar higher in fundraising to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. She joined the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Board in 2016.

“The journey of Alzheimer’s is unique to the one suffering from Alzheimer’s and their caregiver and is a journey no one should face alone”, says Cindy.  “When Daddy was with me, I was frequently asked how I could be helped in caring for my father. My response was consistent in that I did not know because I was solely focused on my Daddy’s needs”.  Cindy also stated that she knows she was blessed to have a loving husband, caring daughters, and supportive caregivers to ensure her father was well taken care off.  “As a caregiver, I appreciate the Alzheimer’s Association for the focus on research for a cure, the resources and information made available and the numerous friends she finds within the group.

Cindy has more than 43 years’ experience in the financial services industry, including 24 years in investments management and 15 years assisting affluent clientele.  Cindy retired from Wachovia Securities after 25 years having started with First National Bank of Atlanta, was Wealth Director for BB&T Wealth Management for 6 years, and Wealth Director for PNC Wealth Management for 7 years.  Her career has focused on the client experience and providing creative solutions to meet her clients financial and legacy planning.  She has most recently taken time to consult with one of her nonprofit interest in the early stage of a capital campaign.

“We simply cannot achieve our goals without volunteers like Cindy”, added Linda Davidson, Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter Executive Director. “Cindy brings not only her philanthropic spirit to the Association but remarkable business skills to our board of directors”, she added.

Cindy has been married to Savannahian, James Wall for 42 years.  They have two daughters, Amanda and Catherine, and enjoy having them live nearby.  While Savannah will always be a special part of their lives, Atlanta has been home for 25 years. 

The Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association elected new board members including Atlanta residents Spencer Graves, Debbie Levin, Bruce Swain and Dr. Frank Jones. From Macon area, Arthena Caston and John Rowland and from Columbus, Dr. Jonathan Liss.  

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 16 million family members and friends provide care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Georgia alone, there are more than 150,000 people living with the disease and 540,000 caregivers.

To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association, visit alz.org/Georgia or call 1-800-272-3900. 

Facts and Figures: (http://www.alz.org/facts/)

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in Georgia.
  • More than five million Americans are living with the disease, including 150,000 Georgia residents — a number estimated to grow to as many as 190,000 by year 2025.
  • More than 16 million family and friends, including 540,000 in Georgia, provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in the United States.
  • In 2019, friends and family of those with Alzheimer’s in Georgia provided an estimated 615 million hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued more than $8 billion.

Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia®. For more information, visit alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900. Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

A Friend In Need, Is a Friend Indeed Ada Holley- Why I Volunteer

By Jamie Saunders

After retirement, moving to a farm was a dream come true for Robert (Bob) and Georgia (Maisie) Compton. A retired engineer and avid Lionel train collector, Bob loved farm life, including mowing and taking care of the animals. Maisie loved horseback riding and always wanted to have horses at home. A 69-acre farm in Dawson County was the perfect place for them to live out their lives together.

Ada Holley, Compton’s daughter and neighbor at the farm, recalls, “My parents moved out there in 1988. My dad loved having a farm and hosting company at the farm. Sometimes people would show up to the farm that he hadn’t told my mom about. We had 4-wheelers, and he would drive everyone all around the property. One day we had bankers out to the house, and one of them had on a skirt and stilettos. Didn’t matter to dad, he took her out on the 4-wheeler anyway. They had a great time!”

Continues Holley, “My husband and I eventually built a house on the next hill over from my parents in 1999. Our kids were in second and fifth grade when we moved out to the farm. They loved it. Our boys grew up driving tractors and riding horses. They loved spending time with their grandparents learning about farming, animals, and grandpa’s trains.”

A train enthusiast, Compton would often have his friends over, and they would bring their grandchildren to run the trains together. He also loved playing trains with his children and grandchildren. “When I was a child, dad would buy all sorts of Lionel train sets. We had a room in the house where he would build these elaborate train sets. It was realistic, with little cars and people. My kids played with it and loved it. At one point, I remember seeing my dad start to struggle with his trains, and it was hard to take,” recalls Holley.


In 2007, Holley and her family (mom, three brothers, and all of the spouses) began noticing other unusual behaviors in Compton. Together, they decided to seek out medical help. “I started getting regular calls from my mother that dad had left the gate open. The horses had gotten out, or he had turned on the water and left it running overnight. The well went dry. We knew something wasn’t right. When we got the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it was a relief, but it was far from over,” says Holley.

For many families, the diagnosis merely confirms suspicions, it doesn’t resolve the issue. To understand and educate themselves on Compton’s disease, Holley and her mother sought out support. “My mother and I started going to an Alzheimer’s Association support group the year my father was diagnosed. Dad was being verbally abusive to family members and acting strange at times. We were unsure how to cope with that,” continues Holley.

Holley and her mother began attending a support group in the Big Canoe area. The information they found and their group members helped them through a difficult time. Says Holley, “People are scared about the disease. The more you get educated, the less scared you are. It helped us so much to learn what happens in the brain that causes this to happen. Once you can understand and physically know what is causing it, you can take the emotions out of it. It’s the disease, not my dad being cruel or mean to me. People are thrown into this moment with zero expectations, so educating yourself is paramount. It’s stressful. My relationship with my mother changed, too. We handled it differently. It is difficult for her, many spouses get angry about the disease. These groups make you feel less isolated or alone in your feelings.”

In 2009, after a series of events, the family decided to move Compton into a memory care facility in Johns Creek. Recalls Holley, ”Mom couldn’t keep him safe on the farm, and we couldn’t keep the farm safe from him. Mom was so busy trying to run the farm as dad couldn’t keep up with equipment orders, etc. There were arguments because things needed to be done, but dad couldn’t recognize that. My brothers and I felt that the burden of caregiving on Mom had become too great. We put him in memory care earlier than a lot of people do, but we made the right decision as a family.”

Continues Holley, “While we all agreed it was time, the adjustment was difficult as he really just wanted to come home. We chose this location after looking at dozens of spots. It was convenient for our other family members. It was only a memory care facility, and there was no assisted living. Meaning, once the door shut, the residents could go anywhere in the building. This gave my dad so much more freedom and independence.”


Continues Holley, “Eventually, he got comfortable there. He had buddies, they would watch football. Dad loved being social, and there was a lot of socializing. He ended up loving it there, and they loved him well. Mom regained her independence, too. She had stopped riding horses because she couldn’t leave dad alone in the house.

Meanwhile, Holley and her mom continued attending and thriving in their Alzheimer’s support group. So much so, that Holley took on a leadership role. “The woman who led our groups had a mother who passed from Alzheimer’s and her father became ill. She asked me to step in and help her as a co-facilitator. When her father eventually passed, she decided not to continue facilitating the group, and so I became the lead facilitator. The Big Canoe group split into two others. One still meets in the Big Canoe area and the other in the Bent Tree area. I now run both groups, volunteering several hours a month for the Alzheimer’s Association,” says Holley.

When Compton passed in September of 2019, Holley felt compelled to continue facilitating the support groups. The education she and her mother received was helpful, but it was the friendship and community that kept them going. Says Holley, “We are pretty tight; there are a lot of people who have been attending for a long time. We have one attendee whose mother passed from Alzheimer’s, and he still comes to the meetings because we are close. We help each other with our problems and share information. My mom still attends one of the groups with me.”

Holley feels that the structure of the group is what keeps people coming back. “In these Alzheimer’s support groups, we don’t set agendas. Everyone has a chance to share what is going on with them, and then other people can chime in with their experience. Other caregivers can give advice. As a facilitator, I can’t give advice or recommendations on specific care plans, doctors. Still, we direct them to the Alzheimer’s site, and other group members give recommendations,” says Holley.

With COVID-19, everything has moved online, which can be somewhat disruptive to the intimate face-to-face group setting. Says Holley, “We talk about how we miss meeting in person, it’s not the same as before, but some like having the group online. Technology has its benefits. You don’t have to drive anywhere. Before COVID, we had people who couldn’t attend meetings during the day, so we tried to set up an evening meeting. Now that they are home and they can attend virtually during the day.”

Quarantine has left many with Alzheimer’s or caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s feeling more isolated than ever before. “People must get the support they need, so I hope they’ll continue to attend sessions during this uncertain time. Caregiving is stressful enough without COVID and quarantine. I learned so many coping mechanisms from my group. We can help each other,” says Holley.

When asked the most important thing she learned from her group, Holley replied, “I had to totally change my way of thinking. People struggling with this disease are in their own reality, and you cannot pull them into yours. My dad and I used to argue about everything. I had to completely turn myself around and learn to simply agree with him. When mom and I figured out that we didn’t always need to be entirely truthful with dad, it actually caused less harm than arguing and gave him peace of mind. He always wanted to come home with us. He’d ask us to bring his yellow suitcase so we could pack all of his things and go home. We had to keep telling him “next time” because that was what he wanted to hear. We had to be okay with small lies, which was hard, but we knew he was safer in his memory care.”

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of online resources, including support groups like the one Ada Holley facilitates. If you or someone you know requires support, visit Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter Support Groups to find a support group near you.

To learn more about the Georgia Chapter volunteer opportunities, visit Program Volunteer Community.

Double Trouble

By Jamie Saunders

When people see them coming, they know they mean business. Helen Browdy and Arlene Tauber are affectionately known by their friends as “Double Trouble,” a name they earned in recognition of their fundraising efforts year after year for The Alzheimer’s Association in Atlanta, GA. Helen and Arlene were introduced through friends at The Bridge Club of Atlanta and became close friends. Together, they make a formidable team.

Helen and Arlene


When Sam Marks, owner of The Bridge Club of Atlanta, approached Helen seven years ago to spearhead the club’s Longest Day fundraising campaign, he knew what he was doing. With only six weeks to prepare, Helen recruited bridge partner and friend, Arlene and the two of them got to work. In their first year running the fundraiser, they helped raise $26,000. In celebration of their efforts, they were brought to Orlando for the Alzheimer’s Association annual summit.

Over the years, their methods have varied, but their commitment remains. Says Arlene,” Seven years later and everyone thinks we’re nuts! Last year we raised $102,000, bringing our grand total to over half a million dollars. Most of our club is supportive of our efforts. The people here, they are more than friends, they are family.”

Adds Helen, “The Bridge Club of Atlanta is the fourteenth largest club in the country. Before the pandemic, we would have at least one game a day with forty tables. We each play multiple times per week. It’s a huge club and we are there for each other. We have friends with Alzheimer’s and dementia and unfortunately, we have lost friends to these horrible diseases as well. When someone is down, we pick them up. When someone is sick, we send meals or help.” 

Helen with PURE BARRE – one of the many companies that helped the Bridge Club of Atlanta fundraise for The Longest Day

Different Times Call for Different Measures

This year, the club has had to make a hard switch to online bridge games. Says Arlene, “We still play bridge 5-6 days per week, but now we play online. I’m happy we have that option, but it’s not the same. We miss the personal, physical contact. We enjoy each other’s company immensely.”

Helen chimes in, “We still chat via texting. We send each other notes, “I miss my bridge club family!” You have to stay safe and we know this is the best way, for now.”

Because of COVID-19, this year’s fundraising efforts will look a little different, as well. Helen continues, “Sam set up a virtual, online club for us. It can be challenging technologically, but we will persist. In the past, part of the magic was the event that took place on the actual summer solstice or The Longest Day. We had tons of food, hundreds of people, and a giant sign that spanned the length of the back wall of the club. As people donate, we put their name on a star and pinned it to the banner where it stayed until next year’s fundraiser. People really want to have their name on that wall.”

“In addition to bridge games, we had a silent auction and a jewelry raffle. People love it. We would also host a wine tasting to kick off the fundraising efforts and a potluck dinner the Saturday before. All of those in-person efforts have to be scratched this year for obvious reasons, but we still want to do as much as we can to raise as much as we can, if not more,” says Arlene.

This year on two different days, The Bridge Club of Atlanta will host four online games each day for a total of eight games total. All of the money raised goes towards Alzheimer’s Association resources, support, and research.

Says Helen, “It’s obviously more difficult now that we’ve gone virtual, but people have been extremely generous. Every day I run to my mailbox, you’d think I was getting love letters with how excited I am to receive checks in the mail, but it means a lot to me to raise money for this organization.”

Helen and Arlene being recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association

“Our goal for 2020 is $150,000. This year we have an angel donor who graciously gave $100,000, but we really want to support the cause and do the best we can. Without everyone face to face, we know we are at a disadvantage, but we never give up. That’s why they call us Double Trouble,” says Arlene.

Personal Connections Shine Light on Alzheimer’s

The importance of raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association resonates with the pair. Continues Arlene, “We have friends who have the disease. My husband was recently diagnosed with mild-dementia. I call it the disease that people talk about with one hand over their mouth. They mumble it as though it is something to be ashamed of. I want to change that. We are surrounded by friends who have the disease and who have passed away because of it. We need to talk about it and we need to find a way to help.”

“Our goal for 2020 is $150,000. This year we have an angel donor who graciously gave $100,000, but we really want to support the cause and do the best we can. Without everyone face to face, we know we are at a disadvantage, but we never give up. That’s why they call us Double Trouble,” says Arlene.

Personal Connections Shine Light on Alzheimer’s

The importance of raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association resonates with the pair. Continues Arlene, “We have friends who have the disease. My husband was recently diagnosed with mild-dementia. I call it the disease that people talk about with one hand over their mouth. They mumble it as though it is something to be ashamed of. I want to change that. We are surrounded by friends who have the disease and who have passed away because of it. We need to talk about it and we need to find a way to help.”

To learn more, sign up to play, or donate please visit The Bridge Club of Atlanta’s Longest Day team page.

It’s not too late to sign up and fundraise! Visit The Longest Day to learn more.

Local Doctor Offers Valuable Opportunity for Help and Intervention with Alzheimer’s Disease

By Jamie Saunders

Worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the nation’s most significant public health crises. This makes finding a way to increase research to address this worldwide epidemic paramount. In recent years, with increases in funding from the National Health Institute, great strides have been made in studying the causes and effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2019, The Alzheimer’s Association made its largest-ever research investment, granting more than $42 million to 162 scientific investigations. Researchers are currently studying everything from digital biomarkers for Alzheimer’s to the impact of daily behavior modifications. Many of these studies are ongoing in 2020, including Dr. Glenna Brewster’s study on sleep disturbances in patients[BG1] [AJ2]  with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Professional and Personal Experiences Intertwined

Dr. Brewster is an accomplished researcher with a Ph.D. in Nursing Science. She is an Assistant Professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She also currently serves as a volunteer Community Educator for the Georgia Chapter. A professional decision that quickly turned personal.

Says Dr. Brewster, “I started working with caregivers of persons living with dementia during my doctoral studies. When I moved to Atlanta to start my Emory position, I continued working with families living with dementia. I thought, what better way to get to know the community than to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association?”

Thanks to colleagues that were already volunteering, Dr. Brewster was introduced to Mia Chester, the Volunteer and Outreach Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association. Continues Dr. Brewster, “Mia was phenomenal in onboarding me as a community educator. Unfortunately, during this time, my grandmother had a stroke and was later diagnosed with vascular dementia.”

She now embodies the role of caregiver both professionally, and personally. Dr. Brewster lives with and assists her mother in caring for her grandmother while working with patients as a Nurse Practitioner at the Integrated Memory Care Clinic at Emory Healthcare.

Through it all, Dr. Brewster remains positive, saying, “I am putting what I present to the community into practice. I also let these experiences guide my research and nursing practice.” Persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and caregivers alike will benefit from Dr. Brewster’s education, experience, and interest in improving conditions for those struggling with the disease.

Past Meets Present

Long before current events, Dr. Brewster has been studying sleep and sleep disorders, specifically how sleep triggers or worsens depressive symptoms. This interest, plus her life experiences, recently presented Dr. Brewster with an opportunity to put all of her skills into play.

Through a grant from the Alzheimer’s Association, Dr. Brewster is currently recruiting qualified candidates to study the effects of sleep disturbance on persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. Once again, her personal experience played a role in professional development.

“I had a close family member who was depressed. One of the symptoms was significant sleep disturbance, challenges with falling asleep, and staying asleep. Since then, the person has received treatment and is doing great. But I wanted to understand more about other ways sleep disturbance could impact psychological and other health outcomes,” says Dr. Brewster.

Dr. Brewster continues, “During my Ph.D., I worked with caregivers of persons living with dementia who were recruited to participate in a National Institute on Aging funded study. These caregivers had sleep problems. We found that compared to normed scores, these caregivers with poor sleep had worse fluid cognition composite scores. By fluid cognition, I mean, decision-making ability, speed of decision making, and memory.”

Those scores produced a significant finding. “During my postdoctoral fellowship, we published a manuscript that found that 60% of caregivers of persons living with dementia was aware of the care recipient having a sleep disturbance. This suggests that caregivers’ sleep is also influenced by the sleep of persons living with dementia. These factors reinforce my desire to continue focusing on this program of research,” Dr. Brewster concludes. 

Studies like this one are desperately needed. Persons living with Alzheimer’s disease often experience sundowning, a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon, and spanning into the night. Sundowning can cause a variety of behaviors, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression, or ignoring directions. Sundowning can also lead to pacing or wandering. It can also wreak havoc on caregivers’ sleep patterns and cause stress, anxiety, and depression with them.

In one study that influenced Dr. Brewster, it was concluded that spousal caregivers of persons living with dementia were six times more at risk of experiencing cognitive decline and dementia than spousal non-caregivers. That is an alarming number and reason enough for implementing a study on the effects of sleep and providing caregivers with possible preventative measures.

Study Aims to Prove Sleep is Key to Improving Alzheimer’s and Caregiver Lifestyles

Up to 71% of the persons living with dementia (PLwD) and 70% of their caregivers experience sleep disturbances, which are distressing for both the PLwD and their caregivers. Specifically, PLwD often experiences restlessness and fragmented sleep, affecting sleep patterns leading to multiple nightly awakenings, shorter sleep duration, and/or inconsistent sleep-wake times.

According to Dr. Brewster, “These disturbances increase the risk for a myriad of psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological health issues and poor quality of life for the dyad. Given the interdependence of the dyadic sleep disturbances and the negative health consequences of sleep disturbances on the dyad, there is a critical need to develop and provide effective non-medication interventions to improve sleep.”

Dr. Brewster continues, “This project seeks to collect preliminary data on a non-medication, behavioral intervention. The behavioral intervention will be provided at the same time to the person living with dementia/memory loss and his/her caregiver. We want to determine if they can do the intervention, if the intervention is acceptable, and if it helps their sleep.”

How You Can Help Yourself and Others

The intervention is a 4 week intervention. Data is collected at 3 time points: 2 weeks before the intervention starts, when the intervention ends, and 3 months after the second data collection point. Participants will complete sleep diaries and wear a watch which records activity for 6 weeks: the 2 weeks before the intervention and the 4 weeks of the intervention. Participants will also complete questionnaires which ask about how their health. Each participant will receive $100 for their participation in the study and valuable information to help them with their sleep and hopefully, their current situations.

“We are recruiting people with memory loss, mild cognitive impairment, early dementia, and their caregivers or care partners. Both of them should be experiencing some disturbance with their sleep and must live in the same home. If you are interested, please call. We will screen you by asking some questions about sleep and about your memory and reasoning,” says Dr. Brewster.

Concludes Dr. Brewster, “My goal is to improve the lives of persons living with dementia and their caregivers by improving their sleep experience. I can only do this if families choose to participate in my research and provide feedback about their experience and how the intervention can be improved for other families.”

If you are interested in participating in this vital research study, email Dr. Brewster at glenna.brewster@emory.edu and drbrewsterlab@emory.edu or call (404) 712-9164. Participants will be recruited through September 2021.


 [BG1]I prefer to say persons living with Alzheimer’s disease instead of patients.

 [AJ2]

Torn between two lives

By Jamie Saunders

Many people in their 20’s are focused on their careers and possibly building families. Most are not thinking that at any minute they could become a caregiver for a parent or grandparent, but it is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. According to the AARP, of the 40 million caregivers in the United States, one-fourth of them are millennials. Many of them are spending an average of 21 hours per week taking care of a loved one.

This category of millennials is commonly referred to as the sandwich generation. They are stuck between caring for their elders and their own families. It is a highly stressful situation that is extremely hard to plan for, and can often have long-term unintended consequences. It takes a toll on performance at work, relationships, and self-care. Many find themselves like, Wendy Beatty, torn between two lives.

At 21 years old, Wendy Beatty never imagined becoming a full time caregiver for her grandmother, Geraldine Creech. After divorce, she moved into Geraldine’s home in Thomasville, GA. It wasn’t long before Beatty began to notice something wasn’t right, especially later in the day.


A longtime member of Eastside Baptist Church, Creech was known to be kind to family, friends, and strangers. Family was the most important thing to her. She and her four sisters all settled in South Georgia and made sure to stay in contact regularly.

When Creech began acting out of character, others chalked it up to aging. Beatty felt it was more than that. Creech began burning dinner and getting angry, turning up the air conditioner to 80 degrees in the summer, getting her meds mixed up, and destroying the remote to the television. One afternoon, on a routine trip to the grocery store just 2-3 miles from her house, everything changed.

“Although she was confused “sometimes” she was still driving and would go and get her hair done on Fridays like many ladies in South Ga. It didn’t really seem like a big deal for her to be driving around her small town. Until she t-boned a family and severely broke her ankle. Everything changed that day,” says Beatty. 

From that day forward, Beatty became her grandmother’s full-time caregiver. By that time, Beatty was 23 years old with a boyfriend and a full-time job. She had to find the time for bathing, dressing, cooking, medicinal management, laundry, household chores, and keeping her grandmother presentable with hair and make up. There were many sleepless nights and scary falls before something had to change.

Says Beatty, “At age 23, I was exhausted! I can’t imagine what it would be like later in life with a spouse as many people experience this. I started to become isolated, I tried to break up with my boyfriend, and I didn’t want to go out with my friends. No one really understood what it was like. Don’t get me wrong I would not take this chapter of my life back for anything in the world but… it was HARD.”

Beatty eventually hired a caregiver and then inevitably moved her into Camellia Gardens nursing home. “There was no question that she was going to Camellia Gardens. My grandmama went back to school in her early 40’s and became a nurse. She worked at Southwestern State Hospitals Rose Haven unit until she retired in 1996. Even after retirement, she worked as needed at Hospitality Care (now Thomasville City Health and Rehab) and Camellia Gardens,” explains Beatty.

“When dementia began to rob her of her memory, she decided that’s where she wanted to move. I think that due to her work there, she knew what was happening to her better than our family. We honored her request. My mama, Wanda Crew was dedicated in visiting her daily and making sure that all of her needs were met. My sister, Amanda McRae was always available when needed. My grandmother loved us all dearly and we her,” Beatty continues.

“She lived at Camilla Gardens for 6 years until her passing. During my visits, I observed and learned a lot about dementia and seniors in general. I gained many new grandparents, it lead me to my career path, and to new volunteer opportunities,” comments Beatty. Beatty is now a Community Education Coordinator at Archbold Northside Center for Behavioral and Psychiatric Care, for Signet Healthcare. She volunteers often as a community educator and speaks to Senior Centers, assisted livings, nursing homes, and any other organization where she can advocate for Alzheimer’s awareness.

But her passion is participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, representing “Team Thomasville”, in the Thomasville, GA walk location. Here she can both honor her grandmother’s memory and raise awareness for the disease. “I want to continue to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s in our community. On the day of the walk, I love to see people come together and share their stories. The relationships and connections are beautiful to watch form,” says Beatty.

Finishes Beatty, “It’s really important that people know about the resources available to them through the Alzheimer’s Association. I wish that I had known about the association when caring for my grandmother, especially the support groups. That would have been so helpful to me.”

Don’t struggle alone. The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way toward ending Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Our 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) is available around the clock, 365 days a year. Through this free service, specialists and master’s level clinicians offer confidential support and information to people living with the disease, caregivers, families and the public. 

Want to learn more about participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s near you? Families facing Alzheimer’s and all other dementia need us now more than ever — and with your help, we can be there for them. Every dollar you raise through Walk to End Alzheimer’s allows the Alzheimer’s Association to provide 24/7 care and support while accelerating critical research. Register today to help those in your community and beyond.

We salute the health care professionals and long-term care staff who are dedicating themselves to tirelessly serve the Alzheimer’s community. You are making a difference, and we stand with you in this fight. Join us.