Alzheimer’s ‘block party’ benefit set for June 28

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By Jeremy Johnson

FORT LUPTON — An organization that provides care for patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses is hoping an upcoming June 28 fundraiser will help spread the word about the misunderstood and often overwhelming condition.

Ashley Manor Care Centers were created when the founders of the company found care for those individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses lacking, said Melanaie Rivas, vice president of operations for the company’s eight Colorado locations, including two in Fort Lupton.

“Assisted living has been around for a long time, but some people found that … Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diagnoses, once those patients got to a certain level, developed behaviors that could not be handled in traditional assisted living,” Rivas said. “That’s how memory care facilities came around: Because people had to learn how to deal with those different behaviors and learn a different skill set than they do in traditional assisted living facilities.”

There are now 56 Ashley Manor Care Centers in three states — Idaho (where it originated), Oregon and Colorado. Rivas said the number of memory care facilities have grown substantially in Colorado since Ashley Manors built their first facility in 1996.

And despite decades of continued progress in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia, Rivas said many members of the public at large — particularly those in smaller towns — are still unfamiliar with the ins and outs of dementia. So, Rivas said, money raised at the Fort Lupton fundraiser will be donated to the Colorado chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to fund more public education.

“It’s all about education,” she said. “We’ve noticed in smaller cities that a lot of people are still not familiar with Alzheimer’s and need to know more, especially for the sake of their loved ones … They need to know more about it and know that there are options.”

The inaugural “Block Party” fundraiser, which starts at noon at the two Fort Lupton locations on 1102 and 1150 Fourth St., will include a barbecue, live music, food and craft booths, pony rides, a dunk tank, door prizes and more. Prizes for the event were donated by businesses in Fort Lupton, Brighton and other areas of Colorado, Rivas said.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done something like this, so we’re pretty excited about it,” Rivas said.