The vibrant 75-year-old retiree, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January, shared her plight before an intimate crowd of supporters and media assembled for last week’s “Why We Walk” conference — a primer for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. This year’s Atlanta walk is Saturday at Atlantic Station.
“I wasn’t really hiding it, but I wasn’t really sure how to tell people,” said Moore, a Sandy Springs resident. “So, I’m fine with talking about it. … When you say you have it, a lot of people just picture you sitting there being numb or not being able to participate in anything, and, it’s quite the opposite — depending on your condition and when diagnosed.”
With locations across Georgia, the walk honors those whose lives are impacted by the disease and provides vital funding for care, support and research.
Moore credits the leading local torch bearer for the cause, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dunwoody-based Georgia chapter, with helping to prepare her for this chapter in her life via emotional support and resources.
“The numbers surrounding this disease just never cease to amaze me — they’re nothing short of staggering,” said Leslie Anderson, the chapter’s president and CEO. “And, at this time, unfortunately, there are no survivors.”
The country’s sixth leading cause of death, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
“Alzheimer’s is the only one of the Top 10 causes of death whose numbers are going the wrong way,” Anderson said. “All the others are showing decreases, but, over the last eight years, the number of [Alzheimer’s-related deaths] has increased 66 percent, … so we’ve got to do something dramatic to turn those numbers around.”
As for Moore, acknowledging her disease is balanced by a resolve to maintain her quality of life for as long as time allows. Staying active — like driving herself to her beloved jazz concerts — is a message she hopes to convey to others stricken with Alzheimer’s.
“I think people should know that you can still accomplish things and do the normal things that you want to do … you don’t have to stay home,” Moore said. “Your family members might want to slow you down because they’re concerned, but I think a person should try to do as much as they can with the energy they have.
“So, I just want to encourage people to be a part of [the Alzheimer’s Association], be a part of living — even though they may not be able to do [everything] they used to.”