FARMINGTON — Two large checks, each for $35,000, were recently presented to the Davis County Commission to be combined and used as seed money in establishing an Alzheimer’s service program to be administered through the Davis County Health Department.
One $35,000 check was from the proceeds of the county’s Mystery Manor gala held Oct. 28, while the second $35,000 check was matching funds presented to the county from the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter.
The $70,000 will be used to kick-start the services needed for those Davis residents impacted by the Alzheimer’s disease, said Jack Jenks, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter.
There are an estimated 3,520 persons with Alzheimer’s or related dementia living in Davis County, according to officials. In addition, based on 2009 estimates, there are 11,126 Alzheimer’s caregivers.
It is impeccable timing that the county is able to put this service program in place, Jenks said, as the first of the “baby-boomers” begin to reach retirement age in the year 2011.
“An estimated 10 million baby boomers, one in eight, in the U.S. are currently at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease,” said Nick Zullo, program manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter.
And the state numbers are not any better.
State projections show an increasing number of people 65 years or older will be impacted with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, as state numbers go from 22,000 people in 2000 to a projected 50,000 people in 2025, or a 127 percent increase, according to a fact sheet prepared by Zullo.
The $70,000 the county has received will be used to develop a comprehensive outreach and education program to serve the Alzheimer’s community in Davis County, Community and Economic Development Director Kent Sulser said.
The funds will be used to provide respite and activity-based care for persons with dementia and counseling to Alzheimer’s caregivers and establish a brain health awareness center in the North Davis Senior Activity Center now under construction in Clearfield at about 22 S. State Street, officials said.
That $2.2 million senior activity center is scheduled to be complete in March.
The money will also be used to support hundreds of Davis County senior adults through education and activity programming to help reduce Alzheimer’s risks, Jenks said.
County Commissioner Louenda Downs said she noticed many of those who attended the Oct. 28 Mystery Manor gala were touched in some way by someone with Alzheimer’s.
County officials were particularly pleased with the gala, considering it experienced a last-minute cancellation of its originally scheduled entertainer, Katharine McPhee, of “American Idol” fame.
McPhee, through no fault of her own, had to cancel because of an overrun in scheduling while making a movie, Sulser said.
Kimberley Locke, also a former “American Idol” finalist, stepped in to perform.
The Odyssey Dance Theatre also canceled at the last minute, with dancers from Syracuse High School stepping in to perform a dance number.
To raise public awareness about Alzheimer’s and its growing impact, the Tournament of Roses parade on New Year’s Day will feature “It’s time to face Alzheimer’s” float, Locomotive No. 1946, that will be carrying members of the Alzheimer’s disease community.