For Chuck and Sharon Lilly, residents of Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC), the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is personal. Both Sharon’s parents and Chuck’s father had Alzheimer’s, and each has a sister with the disease. In 2008, Chuck, a retired hospital administrator, was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and, later, with Alzheimer’s. Now, the couple is doing all it can to help find a cure.
Chuck and Sharon have been involved with Alzheimer’s Walks and support groups in Missouri, Indiana, and here in Michigan. They are part of the Alzheimer’s Association Champions Club, having personally raised over $500 (and counting) for this year’s event. Sharon keeps Chuck involved through his love of art. Last year, Chuck made beaded lanyards and collected donations from CRC staff and residents to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Walk. This year, they are adding note cards that Chuck has colored.
In addition to walking and fundraising, Sharon is currently taking part in a research study conducted by the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center and served as a panelist at the Alzheimer’s Association Research Night in Ann Arbor on August 1. Sharon knows all too well how important it is to learn as much as possible about this disease in order to one day find a cure. “I’m doing it for my great-grands,” says Sharon. “I want to be part of the solution. Anything I can do, I want to do.”
United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) has a long history and commitment to offering innovative solutions in the care of those with dementia. In 1983, UMRC pioneered Wesley Hall at its Chelsea campus, the first residential facility in the U.S. for residents with memory loss. Today, Towsley Village, UMRC’s state-of-the-art memory care center, provides a loving home for nearly 100 residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. UMRC is also offering Positive Approach™ to Care training to not only its staff, but to families and other caregivers throughout the region. Dr. Hank Paulson, director of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center, serves as a voice for those with the disease and their caregivers as a member of the UMRC Foundation board.
In May, the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter named UMRC as its South Central Region 2017 Community Champion Award recipient. UMRC was recognized for its continued generous support, partnership, and dedication towards a world without Alzheimer’s disease. UMRC President and CEO, John Thorhauer, says, “Both UMRC and the UMRC Foundation have been proud supporters of the Alzheimer’s Association for many years, from sponsoring the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, to UMRC Foundation’s community grants that support the Michigan Great Lake Chapter’s efforts to serve families and caregivers of those living with the disease.”
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