RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Jeff Baldwin lost his beloved grandmother “Mimi” last summer but says she had started slipping away five years before.
“As the disease progressed, she was able to do less and less for herself. She no longer recognized her family and friends and things she had known forever,” Baldwin explains.
It’s a reality for 130,000 people in Virginia living with Alzheimer’s Disease and their loved ones who step in to help.
“For a caregiver, we typically say it’s a 36 hour day. They’re never off the clock,” says Baldwin, who now works for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Richmond Chapter. “Each day for a caregiver or someone living with Alzheimer’s Disease is the longest day. Every day is the longest day.”
Longest Day is the name of an Alzheimer’s Association campaign that coincides with this weekend’s summer solstice, literally the longest day of the year. Here in Richmond, it will be observed with an event on Saturday called Bocce for Memory at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.
“This is another cause that we’re really happy to support,” says Kerry Anderson, Hardywood’s Hospitality Manager.
Bocce for Memory is a fundraiser started by local Major League Bocce players. It will benefit education and respite programs for caregivers dealing with so many stresses.
“It can really tear a family apart in so many ways,” Baldwin adds. “You’re so consumed with taking care of your loved one with the disease.”
It’s why this event in Richmond is designed to let Alzheimer’s patients and their families know they are not alone.
“We’re happy to be able to bring all of these communities together here,” says Anderson.
Bocce for Memory will be held June 20 from 9 a.m. To 9 p.m. at Hardywood. If you cannot attend, there is a page where you can make a donation.