Like the more than 83,000 people in Orange County, our family has been deeply affected by Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, and it looks as though those numbers will continue to steadily increase as considerable numbers of baby boomers age.
That’s why, during the week of September 23, the Orange County Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association is asking us all to participate in their GO Purple OC (GOPOC) initiative to don or otherwise display the color purple in support of the fight against this dreaded and incurable (at least for now) disease.
Some of Orange County’s best-known landmarks, city halls, retail shopping centers, and others are participating in GOPOC to increase awareness and inspire action.
An impressive lineup has chosen to participate including the City of Newport Beach, Avila’s El Ranchito, Bowers Museum, Chapman University, City of Orange, Discovery Science Center, First American Title, 95.9 The Fish, Geoffreys Corporate, Go Country 105, HKA, I Heart Old Towne Orange, Idea Hall, The Jubilee Project, Local Splash, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Meridian Senior Living, Mesa Verde Country Club, OC Fair, OCSocialScene.com, Orange County Business Journal, Orange County Register, Pascal Restaurants, R.D. Olson, Show Your Spirit and Wahoo’s Fish Taco, to name just a few.
“Great work is being done locally to help provide the necessary care and support for those who are affected by Alzheimer’s,” says Jim McAleer, CEO of Alzheimer’s Association OC. “However, with a projected 250,000 Orange County residents expected to contract the disease in the next 40 years, it becomes imperative that we do exponentially more to advance research, increase awareness through education and advocacy and expand our programs to reach the growing number in need.”
Why should any of us take notice of this initiative? Well, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and as many as 16 million will have the disease by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is the fourth leading cause of death in Orange County and the sixth leading cause overall in the United States.
Currently, nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated to total $203 billion in 2013, increasing to $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) by mid-century.
This is one of the issues I read recently as being associated with the term “Silver Tsunami.” I wonder why.
The Orange County Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association currently serves only 26 percent of the affected population, leaving more than 60,000 people and their families without the care they need. This is one of the reasons GO Purple OC has been established as a yearly event.
GO Purple OC will bring much-needed visibility to Alzheimer’s disease and rally the community to join in efforts to provide help for those affected today, lift the stigma attached to the disease and provide hope for the future.
The ultimate goal is a world without Alzheimer’s.
Social media will play a big part in the GOPOC initiative, so if you want to go virtually purple for the day, log on to www.gopurpleoc.com to download artwork that can easily be posted on your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
What will only take a moment in time to join this great cause could mean all the difference in raising funds and awareness for future Alzheimer’s victims. Generations to come will have plenty of other cause-colors to focus on – let’s make purple the one they won’t.
For more information about turning OC purple during the week of September 23 as well as signing up to participate in one of three upcoming “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” events in Tustin, Huntington Beach or Anaheim, please visit www.gopurpleoc.com.
If you or a loved one need support, please call the Alzheimer’s Association 24-hour/7-day-a-week hotline at 800-272-3900.
Columnist Lynn Selich resides in Newport Beach. She can be reached at [email protected].