Peconic Landing, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter, will hold its first-ever Walk to End Alzheimer’s on the North Fork on Sunday, Aug. 6.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, and is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds to support research and care for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

The walk steps off at 9 a.m. on Peconic Landing’s 144-acre waterside campus at 1500 Brecknock Road in Greenport, where participants will come together to walk in unity, offering hope and strength to those living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.

The event is also an opportunity to raise awareness and bring resources to the North Fork, and it will raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s research and support programs.

“As an organization that values the well-being of our members and those in the greater community, we are thrilled to host the first-ever Walk to End Alzheimer’s on the North Fork,” said Robert J. Syron, President and CEO of Peconic Landing. “This event is an essential step towards raising awareness, supporting research, and enhancing the quality of life for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

On Walk Day, participants will honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease. 

“This is the most supportive, emotional and uplifting event,” said Nancy Chandler, Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter Board of Directors Chair. “I cry every year at the Promise Garden ceremony. When you look at the sea of flowers and see all the people affected, it is a very uplifting and emotional moment.” 

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease — a leading cause of death in the United States. More than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  In New York alone, there are more than 410,000 people living with the disease and 546,000 caregivers.  

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Peconic Landing will feature a scenic route, encouraging participants of all ages and fitness levels to join. Families, friends, local businesses, and community members are invited to join the North Fork team and walk together, symbolizing their commitment to the cause. Participants are encouraged to register ahead of time at act.alz.org/goto/teamnorthfork, but can also register on-site on the morning of the event.

“Here in our Health Center, we see the profound impact that Alzheimer’s and dementia have on individuals and their families,” said Jennifer Drofenik, Director of Health Services at Peconic Landing and a volunteer Community Educator for the Alzheimer’s Association. “It is so important that these individuals have access to the resources and support they need. Not only do the funds we raise support those currently living with the disease, they also bring us one step closer to a cure and a world without Alzheimer’s.”

Peconic Landing is also in the midst of a Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Awareness Education Series, hosted in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, which is open to the public, including older adults, caregivers, and anyone interested in learning more about brain health and Alzheimer’s disease.

The presentations will be led by Peconic Landing’s Director of Health Services, Jennifer Drofenik, who serves on the board of directors for the Long Island Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and is a volunteer Community Educator for the organization.

“We are thrilled to launch this educational series on brain health and Alzheimer’s awareness,” said Ms. Drofenik. “Our aim is to empower individuals with knowledge about brain health, provide practical tips for maintaining cognitive well-being, and help families make informed decisions about brain health and dementia care. We believe that by raising awareness and enhancing understanding, we can make a significant impact in the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s.”

On August 2 at 3 p.m., Ms. Drofenik will lead a talk on “Understanding Alzheimer’s & Dementia,” where participants will learn about the impact of Alzheimer’s and the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, including understanding the stages, risk factors, current research and treatments available to address symptoms.

On September 6 at 3 p.m., the series continues with “Effective Communication Strategies (For Caregivers).” Communication changes occur in a person with dementia, and this session will help identify strategies to connect and communicate at each stage of the disease. This session will help caregivers learn to decode messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language and will help both parties connect in meaningful ways.

The series follows closely behind the launch of Peconic Landing’s new respite care program in its memory support neighborhood, Harbor South. The program offers short-term stays for people living with cognitive impairments, while their loved ones and caregivers are relieved from their responsibilities to travel, work, or rest. Respite guests will have private accommodations, artistic and educational opportunities, and social events and outings.

“Peconic Landing is committed to serving the community and promoting healthy living,” said Mr. Syron. “These educational events, along with our respite program for memory support, are part of our ongoing efforts to provide resources and support for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. We invite everyone to join us on this enlightening journey towards a better understanding of brain health.”

Admission to the Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Awareness series is free, but registration is required by calling the Alzheimer’s Association at 1.800.272.3900. For more information on respite care at Peconic Landing, visit www.peconiclanding.org/respite or contact Laura Rutkowski, Case Manager, LPN at 631.593.8323.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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