On Saturday, October 12, 2013 close to 2,000 walkers will head to Siena College to raise awareness and funds to help end Alzheimer's!

We recently chatted with Elizabeth Smith-Boivin, Executive Director and CEO, Alzheimer’s Association Northeastern New York Chapter, about the walk and the reasons this event is so important to so many people.

Why is the walk important?

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs. It is held annually in hundreds of communities nationwide.Walks across the country raised more than $51.8 million for care and research in 2012.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Northeastern New York Chapter serves a 17-county area, and holds walks in several regions. The Capital District Walk to End Alzheimer’s is our largest regional walk. Last year, this walk attracted more than 1,500 participants, and raised over $200,000. On October 12, we will again hold the walk at Siena College in Loudonville. We anticipate close to 2,000 walkers, and hope to raise close to $300,000. To sign up, please go to

What is the main message the Alzheimer’s Association wants the public to know?

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging; it is a progressive and fatal disease. Every 68 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and 15.4 million people are providing care for them.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and it is the only cause of death among the top 10 without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.Of Americans aged 65 and over, 1 in 9 has Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 3 people aged 85 and older has the disease. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive illness in the country, costing the U.S. 203 billion dollars in health care costs in 2012.

What is the biggest struggle caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease?

Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s include memory loss and confusion, mood and behavioral changes, disorientation to time and place, and difficulty communicating. Indeed, Alzheimer’s robs a person of their memories and the experiences that shape them. As a result, their family and friends are robbed of the person they once knew. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally. The biggest struggle for caregivers is often finding the time and energy to care for themselves.Support groups for caregivers are an invaluable service offered by the Alzheimer’s Association Northeastern New York Chapter.

What are other ways to help the cause?

If you are not able to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s as a walker, you can go to and make a donation toward the walk. Or, help us as a volunteer at the walk or another event. There are also opportunities to become an Alzheimer's Advocate and speak up for thoseliving with the disease and the people caring for them. Many supporters hold their own fundraisers and designate the proceeds to the Association. Because research is the key to finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease, we encourage you to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch®, a free, easy-to-use clinical studies matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer's, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies. There are many other ways to help – please contact us at 1-800-272-3900 or visit to find out more.