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night at the Jones’ Nisswa home, he would wander too, mostly down to the mailbox and back, sometimes sitting in the car for a while. Then one evening he went out wandering and wound up nearly five miles away at Zorbaz, where he asked for “my daughter.” Both Jerilyn and the owner of Zorbaz had called the police and so Randy was brought home. By then he could recognize faces, but remembered few names. In August 2014, Randy fell and broke his hip, requiring surgery. While considering discharge options, Arlene paid a visit to an area care facility. She was distressed by the long, labyrinth-like hallways and the great distances from nursing stations to rooms. So they went to the medical supply stores and got bed rails, bed alarms, a raised commode seat and shower chair and moved him into their Nisswa home. Soon after, Randy developed pneumonia. Arlene found it increasingly difficult to juggle her caregiving responsibilities and her work.

With heavy hearts, it was decided in September of 2014 to move Randy and Jerilyn back home to Grand Rapids, Mich.,, closer to family, old friends and other resources. After another bout with pneumonia and a heart attack, Randy died at the age of 72 in 2015. As honorary chair of the 2016 Brainerd Lakes Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s, one of Arlene’s goals is to increase awareness and education so that providers can direct families to the support systems available much earlier. The average family waits two years before becoming engaged with services such as the peer and grief support offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. She is also working so that her children and grandchildren will have the tools they need to combat this heartbreaking disease. Arlene first got involved with The Walk to End Alzheimer’s by forming a team in 2014. She was very frustrated that she couldn’t help her dad more and needed something to make her feel like

she was in control. Beginning with the 2015 walk, Arlene joined the Brainerd lakes area Walk to End Alzheimer’s planning committee. This year she has made use of her considerable personal and professional network to shift her focus to obtaining sponsorships for the Walk. Just in recent week Arlene reports two farm partners have entered their fathers into long-term care. “It is such a heartbreaking, personally debilitating disease,” she says, “You lose them one inch at a time.” A Brainerd native, Ann Powers and her husband, Michael, live on Crow Wing Lake. She is the community relations coordinator for the Good Samaritan Society – Woodland campus and has spent almost 40 years working in health care. Ann enjoys spending time with family and friends, music, bird watching, gardening, boating and attempting to golf.

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Her Voice Magazine Fall 2016  

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