November has been recognized as Alzheimer’s Awareness month in the United States since 1983 in honor of the millions of people who have the neurological disease and the millions who care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Brightview Senior Living Westminster Ridge participated this year in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s alongside Brightview locations in eight states. Together, they raised more than $180,000 for research.
This year was also the first year of the Brightview Bright Minds initiative. “This program is a road map highlighting proven elements of maintaining and improving cognitive health. The five pillars — exercise, healthy diet, social and mental engagement and proper medical care — are integrated into the residents’ daily routines to better support brain health and cognitive function,” according to a news release. More information is available at www.brightviewseniorliving.com.
The Times caught up with Executive Director at Brightview Senior Living Westminster Ridge David Ter Borg to talk about local fundraising efforts and awareness about the approach to Alzheimer’s care.
Q: How long have you worked in Westminster?
A: I’ve been with the company since 2017 and was an administrator in rehabilitation before that. Brightview Westminster Ridge is 13 years old and I am fortunate to be leading a group of directors who have all been in Carroll County for more than 20 years each.
Q: Are you working on any new initiatives related to Alzheimer’s Awareness this year?
A: We are partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association on a monthly education series which is open to everyone in the county. The series provides education on the disease, progression, and support for caregivers. Our efforts for November punctuate our ongoing efforts to connect with the community as a resource as well as provide training for our associates.
Q: Are there any projects related to Alzheimer’s Awareness that you do regularly every year?
A: We are a fundraising machine. It is a result of our engaged residents, families, and associates and perhaps some competitiveness on my part. The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s gives our community the opportunity to place frustration, fear, heartache and pain into a crowd and literally walk away with hope, gratitude and awareness of not being alone.
Q: What are some areas of the discussion about Alzheimer’s that need more awareness? Maybe something that has changed or isn’t getting enough attention?
A: The approach. Our Wellspring Village Director Andi Walsh advocates, teaches, models and practices the art of approach. How we interact with each other is the one thing we can truly own. In a disease process that renders medicine, individuals, caretakers and families powerless — the thing that we can control is our approach. It isn’t detangling amyloid plaques, but it is the most power we possess over the disease at this moment.
Q: Is there anything I haven’t asked that you’d like to talk about?
A: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. We need high school students across the nation conquering statistics classes in lab coats and goggles. My work is managing the disease and I am proud to be part of Brightview which enables my team to do this exceptionally well. If we are going to fight and win here as a community — we need to celebrate chemistry teachers — the engineer that is working with our youth.