Lucille Racine and her grandson, Daniel, at the annual Plattsburgh Alzheimer’s Walk.
PLATTSBURGH — They were 19 when Lucille and Maurice Racine married.
At 52, she noticed differences in her husband.
“I knew it wasn’t the husband I married,” Mrs. Racine said.
Today, Mr. Racine lives in a nursing home, and his wife, now 80, visits him often.
“My husband is an Alzheimer’s patient.”
This past weekend, Mrs. Racine participated in the annual Plattsburgh Alzheimer’s Walk. Besides the walk itself, the event included music, games, brain exercises meant to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, dancing, food and exercise.
Participants gathered at Sibley Hall on Plattsburgh State’s campus, with one group walking inside and the other outside under a light rain.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It worsens as it progresses and eventually leads to death.
In 2006, 26.6 million people worldwide suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, which is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.
The annual walk is held to raise awareness and support those affected by the disease, and to support their families, friends and caregivers. It is also held to raise money to support services offered by the Alzheimer’s Center and The Third Age Adult Day Centers in Elizabethtown, Malone, Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake.
“Many people don’t know that one out of every seven or eight individuals over 65 might have Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Taher Zandi of Plattsburgh State. “These funds stay locally to help folks who cannot care for themselves.”
“People need to know about the services that are available in the area, especially if they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,” said Lee Vera, who coordinated the walk.
“Individuals experiencing problems with their memory should go to the center for an assessment,” she said.
David Cronk’s wife, Ellen, was diagnosed with subcortical dementia roughly 18 months ago. Symptoms of subcortical dementia include slowing of cognition, memory disturbances, difficulty with complex intellectual tasks and mood disturbances.
“It changes your life,” Mr. Cronk said.
This is the second year the team “Ellen’s Rebellion” participated in the walk, raising $1,500 last year and $5,300 this year.
“There are too many people with the disease,” Mr. Cronk said.
Mrs. Racine worries about the rest of her loved ones, as Alzheimer’s disease seems to run in the family.
“We have to do more research.”
Currently, there is no cure, which is one reason Mrs. Racine believes it is so important to hold events to raise funds for research.
Her husband loved the outdoors and was a machinist.
When they were newlyweds, she purchased a rolling pin and there was a crack in it. He vowed to make her another one.
Over the years, he dried a large piece of wood, and one of the last things he did for her before entering the nursing home was make a rolling pin.
“I make a lot of pies.”