The 3rd District has decided to designate itself as being ‘Dementia Friendly”.
To commemorate the 125th Anniversary of Sons of Norway in 2020, it pledged to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. The district realized that it has many members and families that were dealing with Alzheimer’s and wanted to make a difference. The fundraising results were very successful, and the feedback was so positive that it was decided to keep this effort going. It is also a core value of the founders of SON that we reach out to help others. For all of those that are facing the struggles of cognitive decline, we are committed to support a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for 60-80% of all dementia cases. Dementia is a general term that describes the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities that are serious enough to disrupt a person’s daily life. As many as 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and there is no known cure. It is also estimated that in a little over three decades, that number will more than triple to 16 million people unless something can be done to halt it. There are treatments for symptoms, but more research is needed and continuing to find a cure.
It is not a normal part of aging, but the risk of Alzheimer’s increases with age. Most patients are over 65 years old. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death. The average patient may only live for four to eight years after diagnosis. Some may live up as long 20 years with the debilitating symptoms and struggles for their caregiving families. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time.
We can work together to increase awareness, learn of preventative strategies and treatments and what is on the horizon in terms of a cure. Learn more at Alzheimer’s/Dementia Awareness
It began with Third District Lodges like Nor-Bu and expanded once our District declared itself “Dementia Friendly” in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Sons of Norway
Nor-Bu Lodge chose Alzheimer’s and other dementias as the primary cause for the lodge’s charitable activities. The core event is an annual “Alzheimer’s Fundraiser Dinner,” which was first held in the fall of 2019 and was a huge success having raised more than thousand dollars. Proceeds from the event were donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The COVID pandemic has slowed down activities, but much is planned for the future when the Lodge is able to meet again. In particular, plans are under way to sponsor an annual Walk-A-Thon around Lake Telemark. The first Nor-Bu Walk-A-Thon for Alzheimer’s is tentatively planned for the Fall of 2021.
In addition to fundraising, Nor-Bu has also declared itself to be a “Dementia Friendly” organization. The “Dementia Friendly Society” initiative was begun in the United Kingdom in 2012 and has since spread to Norway, the United States and all around the world. A “Dementia Friendly” group means being a community where people with dementia are understood, respected, and supported to contribute to community life. Nor-Bu affirms its responsibility to ensure that people with dementia feel understood and valued. Everyone living with dementia is welcome to participate in all Nor-Bu events and members are happy to accommodate all special needs.
In the future, Nor-Bu also hopes to target fundraising efforts to meet the needs of local groups in the community. The Lodge is particularly interested in outreach to local nursing homes. Additional plans for when Nor-Bu is able to open fully again include the creation of a “Memory Cafe” as well as organize events to teach people about being Dementia Friendly.
June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month & June 20th is The Longest Day
Please consider making a personal or lodge donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. Their website is www.alz.org and under the Longest Day fundraiser, make your donation to the Sons of Norway Third District Team. The longest day this year is June 20th. The summer solstice is traditionally a day for celebration for Norwegians. Plan on also making it a day of hope.
Lodges of course should not feel limited to The Longest Day fundraising event. Other fundraising events such as walk-a-thons, dinners, etc. are encouraged and can occur all year round. The 3rd District will provide ideas and links to resources so that lodges get assistance for their events. Please share your success stories to this website and social media so we can all learn from your lodge’s experiences.