Burns recognizes Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Saturday, 12 November 2022 15:08

Burns recognizes Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns is supporting efforts to recognize November as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and Family Caregivers Month. Oklahoma is home to 67,000 people 65 and older living with the disease. This number is expected to increase to around 76,000 by 2025.

Approximately 129,000 Oklahomans are caregivers to those with Alzheimer’s disease, with many suffering from their own chronic health conditions, including depression. Over 1,700 Oklahomans passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2019. Many organizations, including the Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association are working to find a cure.

“The statistics related to Alzheimer’s show just how serious of an issue this is,” said Burns. “I had the opportunity to hear the incredible story of District 5 residents, Brent and Stacey Franks, and discovered how this disease is affecting families in our communities.”

Stacey Franks was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and has made it her goal to raise awareness. She knows that small communities do big things, which she has proven by speaking to groups across the area to share her experience.

Her husband, Brent, has had to take on many daily tasks along with responsibilities related to their family businesses. While their lives may have changed, they have also made change. Brent says they have received overwhelming support from their community, and even see people wearing purple in support of Alzheimer’s awareness.

Maggie Shaffer, Director of Public Policy for the Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says there are many ways to get involved. State and federal ambassadors work with their legislators and other leaders to advocate for a path to a cure, along with hosting various annual fundraisers and local support group meetings for families dealing with the effects of the disease.

Mrs. Franks spent nearly two decades as a mental health professional and would like to see a support group started in their area so they can have someone to talk to and share relatable experiences. She will have her next speaking engagement on Nov. 17 with the Antlers Rotary Club, and all interested can join.

Those interested in helping with awareness efforts can contact the Alzheimer's Association for more information at (405) 319-0780. For more information about available support and education programs, please visit alz.org/oklahoma or call the counselor-staffed 24/7 hotline at 1(800) 272-3900.

“I want everyone in our district and across the state to know that they are not alone, and they have support through their family’s journey. I encourage those in the area to collaborate on ways to help raise more awareness and provide support and a helping hand to our neighbors as they navigate this disease and what changes that will bring to their lives. I hope you’ll join me in wearing purple this November to raise awareness or even gift a white flower, which represents courage for those with the disease and the people who care for them.”

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