CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Nov. 6, Texas Face to Face will be holding their 14th annual 'Walk for Memory'. Face to Face founder Dr. Nestor Praderio started the event to raise awareness about Alzheimer's, Dementia and other cognitive disease; but it's grown into much more than that.
“It’s to awake the community on what’s going on with this disease," Praderio, the geniatric psychiatrist said. "And to join in an effort to know more and to propagate and to talk to others about the difficulties.”
Along with awareness, the funds from the event will go towards Face to Face programs such as support groups and respite care. Some money will also go towards more education about these diseases in south Texas.
“We dedicate the proceed to help caregivers, specifically family members and giving a little break during the daily activities of taking care of their family member," said Praderio. "And offering some place for them to breath and to take care of their self.”
Valerie Laverio was a caregiver to her father. Now she's on the other end, organizing healthcare for those that need it. She said if you and your family are new to dealing with these diseases, these walks can make a huge impact.
“The focus is finding the caregivers that need help, educating them. This money stays here locally," said Laverio, area manager for Encompass Healthcare. "So, we really love that when Mrs. Smith down the road calls us and says, 'Hey I have my best friend and she needs help,' we’re able to make a tangible difference in a great time frame.”
Corpus Christi could be considered a leader in Texas for people with cognitive diseases finding support, according to Felipa Wilmont, caregiver program specialist at the Area Agency on Aging.
Wilmot is tasked with connecting people to the appropriate services, resources or events. She said there's a state network between six cities, including Corpus Christi, that have been recognized as a Dementia Friendly City dubbed by Dementia Friendly America.
“We work together and we aim to reduce social stigma, isolation that comes with the disease and not only on the side of the caregiver, but also on the care receiver," said Wilmot. "So, we can’t do this alone.”
“I’m from north Texas and the resources here are quite different from anything I’ve ever seen," Laverio said.
The Nov. 6 walk will take place at Water's Edge Park with opening ceremony at 9 a.m. Packet pick up begins Nov. 1, but you can still register at texasfacetoface.com or you can visit the Facebook page for more information. If you can't attend in person, there is a virtual option as well.