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Working With Seniors Fuels Poughkeepsie Woman's Fight Against Alzheimer's

Donna Lombardi Slavin, seated, captain of the Team Always There, poses with team members Tonika Simmons, Jane Fuchs, Ashley Quick, Sheila Wicklow and Nicole Kaufmann.
Donna Lombardi Slavin, seated, captain of the Team Always There, poses with team members Tonika Simmons, Jane Fuchs, Ashley Quick, Sheila Wicklow and Nicole Kaufmann. Photo Credit: contributed

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- As someone who has spent her entire adult life working with senior citizens, Donna Lombardi Slavin of Poughkeepsie is deeply devoted to fighting Alzheimer's disease -- and she'd like others to join in the fight.

"I started at 16 in the field of caring for the elderly, as an aide in a nursing home, and I met up with a lot of elderly people," she said. "A lot of them had dementia, but at that time it was called senility.

Now she is the site coordinator for Always There Home Care in Kingston.

"Most of our participants have Alzheimer's. I love them," Slavin said.

Some of the people with dementia are young, in their 60s, she added.

"I'm 62, so when I see the young ones, it really breaks my heart. You think, 'This could be me," she said.

She noted the importance of raising awareness.

"You look at statistics, and you look at what's going to be happening in the next few years. It's not going to decrease. They are seeing over 200,000 people diagnosed under the age 65," she said. "Donate anything: donate time, donate a raffle, donate something, anything you can do to help, because research costs billions. Getting a new drug costs billions.  Any amount is a help, but give something."

The 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer's on the Walkway Over the Hudson is Saturday, Oct. 15.

The walk has a two-mile route, starting on the Highland side of the Walkway Over the Hudson. Registration starts at 9 a.m., the opening ceremony is at 10 and the walk will begin at 10:30 a.m.

You can register individually or start your own team here, donate to Slavin's team here or donate to the event generally here.

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