Residents at Primrose Retirement Community gathered together for ‘The Longest Day’ national day in honor and support of the Alzheimer’s disease on Friday, June 21.

The Longest Day is a signature “day of action” for the Alzheimer’s Association during Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. This annual celebration is every June 21, the summer solstice, when advocates from around the globe come together to honor those facing Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Forty-five residents from Primrose started the celebration at 10 a.m. with the showing of Glen Campbell’s “I’ll Be Me,” documentary about his battle with Alzheimer’s. Then, at 2:30 p.m., the residents were invited to a patio party where local accordionist Tony Sydzyik played and sang some cheerful Polka songs.

Lisa Asche, sales and marketing director at Primrose, said this is the second year Primrose participated in this celebration.

“Together, the strength of our light will outshine the darkness of Alzheimer’s,” Asche said.

Asche said every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops this disease. It is estimated that there are 47 million people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, including 5.8 million in the United States and 34,000 here in Nebraska.

A patio full of residents in purple t-shirts were invited to place flower pinwheels in honor of Alzheimer’s on the patio’s flowerbed. Many of the pinwheels had the colors of the rainbow and many were purple. Purple is the color that represents Alzheimer’s awareness.

This was only the second year celebrating ‘The Longest Day,’ but Primrose has continuously sponsored the annual Alzheimer’s walk with its specialized team of staff. Primrose does not have a memory care center for residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s, but does provide care for residents with memory conditions.

“Primrose supports the cause and we support the association to help educate our community to bring support groups for families and loved ones,” Asche said.

Gayle Francl, assistant life enrichment coordinator, said she has worked at Primrose for over two years. She said Primrose felt it was important to acknowledge and bring more awareness to Alzheimer’s. Francl said the showing of Campbell’s documentary “I’ll Be Me,” was very realistic in showing two parts of people living with and people caring for those living with the disease.

“It’s making an awareness to be more supportive to people. Maybe just that you are around or take in a meal or go and encourage someone,” Francl said.

Primrose also used the day to celebrate the $725 raised for the Alzheimer’s Association. Asche said most of the funds raised for the association are through donations. Primrose is currently working on raising funds for the local Alzheimer’s walk on Sept. 8, 2019.

“That’s what we are doing today. Making that awareness and that it’s okay and that we need to understand it,” Asche said. “We need to embrace it.”

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Natalie Saenz is The Independent's summer intern for 2019. She welcomes news tips and information 24/7!

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