HELENA — "The Longest Day" is an awareness and fundraising event to help advance the care and support of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and research toward finding a cure.
Touchmark has hosted The Longest Day events for several years as well as the fun run, or walk, which they introduced last year.
The Touchmark campus was filled with games, info booths, food trucks, and a dunk tank to help raise funds for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
"This is always an exciting time for us hosting The Longest Day event at Touchmark, because it's a time for us as team members, as family members, of people who live in our memory care neighborhoods to get together and a common with a common cause to fund the cure for Alzheimer's," said Joseph May Executive Director of Touchmark.
The Longest Day is meant to raise awareness of the challenges of living with and caring for people with memory loss.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 6.7 million Americans over the age of 65 live with Alzheimer's.
In Montana, approximately 22,000 senior citizens have Alzheimer's, and that number is expected to increase by 22.7% to 27,000 by 2025.
Alzheimer's is the fifth leading cause of death among senior citizens, and the seventh leading cause of death overall.
"The reason why The Longest Day, the summer solstice, is chosen to raise awareness for the end of Alzheimer's, is because somebody living with Dementia, it is recognition of the fact that every day for them is going to be the longest day of their life," said May.
Neal Ruedisili walked in the event and told me that Alzheimer's has affected people in both he and his wife's family.
"I've walked in other Alzheimer's walks in this community, and it's personal. There's all been Alzheimer's in my family and in my wife's family. So for those reasons and knowing that possibly the day will come when I will need care with some kind of dementia so I'm doing that to help support the cause," said Ruedisili.
For more information on Touchmark's Longest Day campaign to bring awareness to Alzheimer's, you can check out their website.