Purple balloons, purple clothes and hats, and even purple hair were on parade at Bruce McLaren Retirement Village as residents turned out for a special village walk to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Awareness month.
The fact that everyone taking part knew or knows a friend or family member affected by the disease gave the walk, which also constituted a Walking for Wellness walk, extra purpose.
September is also the month for Ryman Healthcare’s Everest-themed virtual walking challenge, where residents attempt to meet their target of either 64.4km or 128.7km, so following the route mapped out by the village team constituted a great way to get closer to reaching that goal as well as defying dementia.
One group of friends reflected on the morning’s efforts and what it meant.
“I would have walked anyway but it was a good thing to say we were doing it for this purpose,” said Judy McDonald.
Doreen looks positively regal in purple (above) while Georginne enjoys the beautiful Bruce McLaren gardens while she walks (below).
Ann McLean said she regularly visits a friend in the special care unit at the village while fellow resident Patti Tew said her mother had dementia and Lynn Ashmore said her husband had Parkinson’s disease, which can be associated with memory difficulties.
Joan Rutherford summed it up: “We know too many people.”
Joan, 91, walks the village paths every day and still works part time at Timmermans jewellery store in Botany, where she has worked for the past 54 years.
“I just encourage people to walk, it’s a good flat walk and we have got lovely gardens to look at away from the traffic.”
The walks are very social too, with many friendly faces encountered along the way.
“I’ll be chatting to this one and that one so sometimes I get held up,” she laughed.
Lynn leads the way around the village lake (above) while Anne and Ann wave their flags on the home stretch (below).
The ladies, who are all doing the Walking for Wellness challenge as well, went on to discuss when forgetfulness could look like early signs of Alzheimer’s with Anne Searle admitting it was something she worried about herself.
Reassurance was quick to follow, with her friends encouraging her to keep doing what she was already doing: exercising, eating healthy food and socialising regularly.
Said Ann: “That is one of the good things about living in a village – friends are never far away.”
Patti, who regularly does the village’s Triple A classes, said the walk had given her the push she had needed to increase her step count again and while she hadn’t signed up for the Walking for Wellness challenge, she was keen to take part in the upcoming inter-village walk at Panmure Basin.
“I’ve been a bit lazy, mainly because of the terrible weather, but I’m going to make more of an effort now,” she said.
Sandy Arthur received a spot prize of a water bottle for her purple ensemble of t-shirt, hat and even purple stripey socks, while Doreen Ashton hit the purple jackpot with the purple decorations on her walker, purple top and bright purple hair.