From Wichita, Kansas, to the outskirts of Maryville, Missouri, family and community members came together to spend time with each other, enjoy a hearty meal and help aid research for Alzheimer’s.
The community cookout and family fun day was hosted by Oak Pointe Assisted Living and Memory Care Sept. 14 to finish celebrating National Assisted Living Week. Every year, there is a theme for the week. This year, the theme was “a spark of creativity” and included various art events provided for the residents.
As community and family members of residents entered the foyer, they could see the product of one of the art events: a bright mural of paper feathers displayed on the wall which created a set of multi-colored wings. Written on the back of each feather are the hopes, dreams and prayers of the residents and staff members.
Along with the art displays, the event included a variety of activities such as face painting, outdoor games, live music and balloon animals.
Community member Megan Renee Helzer came to support and see her family member who lives at Oak Pointe. Helzer said she thinks the event helps her family member to socialize.
“It helps her. It makes her feel included and she gets to see more people than just family members, you know,” Helzer said. “She enjoys it.”
Director of Sales Stephanie Reed was in charge of the event and said the cookout was the “capstone end” to that week. While the event had no charge in the past, last year, in hopes of helping fund the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a small fee was added. This year marks the second time they have had the fee with a hotdog plate at $5 and a hamburger plate at $10.
“Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and also the most expensive disease in America, and of course the cause is near and dear to our hearts, as we see firsthand every day how awful the disease is,” Reed said.
Many people have been affected by Alzheimer’s through family members, friends or even influential artists. Musician B.J. Talley, who comes and sings for the residents every once in a while, was sad to hear his favorite singer died from Alzheimer’s.
“I know there’s a lot of people in the world that suffer with different things in life and Alzheimer’s is one of them,” Talley said. “I think it’s a really horrible way to go. If they can raise money to help fund to treat, to find the cause, that would be absolutely wonderful.”
All of Talley’s proceeds for his CDs made that day were donated to the cause.
Along with Talley, another community member who played a part in the event was Ron Sobotka, who served tractor-made vanilla ice cream. With the motor from the 1967 tractor, he was able to create the churning motion as the cream sat in a vat surrounded by a mixture of ice and salt.
Beyond the local community, Northwest students also helped by setting up, serving food and painting faces on the children.
Through donations and a community effort, the amount brought in from the cookout was nearly $1,000.