The Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter planned to host a virtual luminaire lighting ceremony Dec. 21, which is the winter solstice.  The event honors those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter planned to host a virtual luminaire lighting ceremony Dec. 21, which is the winter solstice. The event honors those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Photo provided by Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter


Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter hosts winter solstice event

By: Zachary Manning | C&G Newspapers | Published December 18, 2020

METRO DETROIT — With the COVID-19 pandemic still sweeping across the nation, the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter plans to host a virtual event to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The virtual luminaire lighting event is scheduled to take place on Zoom 6-6:30 p.m. Dec. 21, which is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year.

Participants are asked to bring their own luminaire or light of hope to the event, which marks the halfway point to The Longest Day fundraising event on the summer solstice in June.

“We always like to honor those who are living with this disease and their loved ones,” Alzheimer’s Association Development Manager Shenise Foote said. “Whether you are someone who has, unfortunately, had to bury someone from this or you’re a caregiver or you’re a friend or family member, we try to bring everyone together on the winter solstice to say, ‘Hey, we know we do something for The Longest Day in the summer, but we haven’t forgotten about you in the winter.’” 

According to a press release, an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data over the past five years on excess deaths shows the number of Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths in Michigan through the end of October for 2020 represents a 17.6% increase above average. In the analysis, Michigan had 1,187 deaths above average.

Nationwide, there have been at least 34,851 more deaths due to Alzheimer’s or another dementia than would be expected normally this year. The number of deaths above average in this disease category far exceeds all categories reported by the CDC.

The Alzheimer’s Association has worked to bring awareness to these diseases, while also pushing policy recommendations in regards to COVID-19 and its effect on people with Alzehimer’s and other related diseases.

“Alzheimer’s doesn’t stop, and neither do we,” Foote said. “This is something that we care about, and this is something that, pandemic or not, we are going to continue to fight for.”

Registration for the winter solstice virtual luminary lighting event is available at bit.ly/TLDWinterSolstice. For more information, visit alz.org/gmc.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers an array of education programs, support groups, care consultations and social engagement programs. It is accessible via its 24/7 help line at (800) 272-3900.

According to its website, the Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support.

“It is beyond important, especially right now,” chair of The Longest Day Volunteer Committee Michigan Chapter Alicia Cameron said of giving support to those who are affected by these diseases. “They need to know they’re not alone in this. Imagine someone who’s already going through the struggles of a diminished mental capacity and going through that frustration, going through those difficulties. They need to know that they are not alone in this world, they’re not alone in this fight, they’re not alone in dealing with COVID-19, they’re not alone in working through their new normal or what’s becoming their new normal.”