Alzheimer’s Association offers a break from the routine for patients, caregivers

ST. LOUIS – In the spirit of the holidays and in the spirit of giving, we want to highlight the work of one of our three Spirit of St. Louis charities.

The Alzheimer’s Association is committed to helping those whose daily lives have been interrupted by memory loss. Cultural and social activity can open doors for those suffering from memory loss. It reduces the isolation for patient and caregiver.

For interaction and stimulation, the Alzheimer's Association sponsors Meet Up events. Weekly activities, like last month’s tour of the Missouri State Park Route 66 Visitors Center, are a hit, according to Joe Kurkowski.

“It’s great, it’s really great,” he says.

Kurkowski's health sent he and his wife Barb to the Alzheimer's Association for support.

“They have given us a lot of opportunity to go to different places and just be with new people,” says Barb.

Caregivers and their loved ones are free to enjoy a break from the routine according to Debra Bryer, R.N. of the Alzheimer s Association.

“It gets them out of the house and using their brain in a different way than they would normally. For the Care Partners, it really is an intervention, to help with isolation,” Bryer says.

Rosalyn Stiles and her mother, Barbara Lewis, welcome the opportunity to interact and spend time together.

“Every day it’s something different. So, you have to be able to relate to them without making them feel like they`re a bother to you,” says Stiles.

Barbara Lewis knows that her health is changing.

“I noticed the fact that my memory and things that I normally would know, to me it is getting worse,” says Lewis.

Ken and Carol Hellebusch live in Washington, Missouri. Ken's diagnosis came just 11 months ago. He remembers stopping at this location when he traveled to St. Louis with his parents as a child it was a resort restaurant at the time.

“We came on Route 66, and we’d stop in here almost every time. and it brought back some found memories,” he says.

“We would like to go to more activities, so we were especially happy when this one was kind of in our neighborhood,” says Carol.

Following the tour, participants were treated to a nostalgic Route 66 themed lunch.

In the spirit of the holidays and the spirit of giving, Fox 2 and KPLR 11, along with Bommarito Automotive Group, want you to "Pick Your Charity! Pick your Car, Truck, or SUV!" For a $10 online donation to one or all three Spirit of St. Louis charities—the Alzheimer’s Association, Marygrove, or Heat Up St. Louis—you will be entered to win a Mazda, GMC, or Honda vehicle.