By Crystal Burns
Katie Burke, clinical liaison at Trenton Health And Rehab, was looking for a unique way to help the public deal with a debilitating disease that robs families of their loved ones.
Little did she know putting a sledgehammer in a person’s hands could do so much to relive stress and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.
Trenton Health And Rehab hosted “Smashing Alzheimer’s” Monday, Sept. 21. West Tennessee Pick & Pull of Trenton donated a car, which Trenton Health employees painted purple, the color of Alzheimer’s awareness. They then took white paint to the car, writing phrases that Alzheimer’s patients and their families are all too familiar with – things like:
Where am I?
Who are you?
I hate you!
I don’t know you.
I miss you.
Individuals and businesses were encouraged to schedule appointments to smash the car. Burke said employees from Cotton’s Cafe, Nutrition 31, Medical Center Home Health, Avalon Hospice, Sweet Jordan’s, Gibson County Memorial Library, Gibson County Sheriff’s Office, and West Tennessee Pick & Pull, and several Peabody High School football players took their turn with the sledgehammer, pummeling the car until gaping holes marked the exterior.
“The goal was to encourage families to process the emotions that the disease brings,” Burke said. She was also able to use the event to educate the public on the support systems available in the area. Plus, “Smashing Alzheimer’s” raised over $300 for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
It’s a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United State. There is no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues.
For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 help line at 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org.