A Conversation With Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Missouri
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Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and the coronavirus pandemic disproportionately affects people with the disease. Dot Foods knows the pain of losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s. Our annual fundraising campaign for the Alzheimer’s Association is currently underway. Each employee’s donation is matched dollar for dollar. 
 
Our St. Louis Corporate Sales Office has volunteered for the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Missouri and supported their events for the past several years. We recently spoke to Anthony Burt from the organization to learn how they’re working to bring an end to the disease. 
 
What has the Missouri chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association done to support Alzheimer’s research and care? 

Anthony Burt: We’ve been integral in local research and development through our partnership with Washington University of St. Louis. The university has been advancing research on blood tests 
for Alzheimer’s, which could really increase our understanding of the disease. 
 
Early in the pandemic, we were able to adapt quickly and pivot to virtual environments. On our website, we have a section dedicated to COVID-19 resources. Most of our education and support groups are currently operating virtually or by phone. Our helpline is also available 24/7—that’s the best place for anyone to go to get answers. 
 
How has the coronavirus impacted people with dementia and their caretakers?
 
AB: COVID-19 has been very impactful for those who are affected by dementia, and caregivers as well. One of the biggest ways is through isolation. I think everyone has heard about people being unable to visit their loved ones in long-term care facilities. I have a personal friend who lost his wife to dementia and wasn’t able to see her in her last moments. Folks are blocked off from certain communities, which has made getting resources and help a challenge. And it’s created some additional stress for at-home caregivers.
 
This year, organizations haven’t been able to hold their usual fundraising events. How has the Alzheimer’s Association adjusted their fundraising efforts in response to the pandemic?
 
AB: We’ve seen a significant decrease in donations. Social media has become a frontrunner in our fundraising. That’s always been the easiest way to fundraise, but it’s more effective now than ever. We did cancel our 2020 annual gala, but we’ve been able to host other events in virtual settings, including a silent auction and trivia nights. 
 
The Walk to End Alzheimer's has continued, and we’re using the Mainstage platform to create a new and exciting online experience. Participants can livestream the opening ceremony and use step trackers to walk in their own neighborhood. Our walk in St. Louis will be held on October 24.
 
How can people support the Alzheimer’s Association? 
 
AB: Donating and participating in events is always a great way to help. We try to be volunteer-led in everything we do. People who are interested in volunteering can reach out to us, and we can help them find the activity that is the best for them. Most of our volunteer opportunities are virtual right now. 
 
Organizations can also support us. Dot Foods has been a key partner, participating in several of our activities and providing annual contributions. In the past, you’ve supported caregivers through different activities, like fixing meals to help men take care of their wives who have dementia and delivering cookies to long-term care facilities. Dot continues to be a key partner for the Alzheimer’s Association through your fundraising campaign. 
 
Dot Foods employees interested in contributing to the Alzheimer’s Association can donate through our current fundraising campaign. Check your email to find more details from your location.