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Fallbrook resident goes on solo walk for Alzheimer's

 

Last updated 10/7/2020 at 2:53pm

Angelica Orozco on Alzheimer's walk

Village News/Courtesy photo

Angelica Orozco wears all purple on her walk for Alzheimer's to bring awareness to the Alzheimer's Association's annual "Walk to end Alzheimer's."

On the morning of Sept. 26, Angelica Orozco began her solo walk through Fallbrook to end Alzheimer's.

After her grandfather was diagnosed with dementia in 2014, Orozco promised her grandmother that she would take care of him. Her grandmother died shortly after that, and Orozco has been caring for her grandfather ever since.

When he was first diagnosed, Orozco fully immersed herself in all the information she could find. It wasn't until 2016 when she learned about the annual Alzheimer's walk hosted by the Alzheimer's Association. She has been participating in these walks for four years now, and she has been able to inspire her family and friends to join her in walking to end Alzheimer's.

This year, the annual walk had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When she heard about this, Orozco was determined to walk for her grandfather this year even without the official walk being held, so she held her own solo walk. The walk was 2 miles around Fallbrook to raise awareness and get others involved.

"I just wanted to raise awareness," Orozco said. "At first, it felt awkward to be walking around town all alone, but people had good reactions."

While she walked through Fallbrook, many people stopped to ask her about her cause, offered to join her group next year, and asked for links to sites to donate to. Orozco said she was very proud to be able to inform others and get people involved. She was able to make many connections with people around town, and she is looking forward to seeing more people from Fallbrook at the next annual walk to end Alzheimer's.

She has noticed through her involvement with the Alzheimer's walks that many people have had experiences like hers. Many friends of hers have had parents and grandparents with dementia or Alzheimer's, and they have all been able to bond over this shared experience and they have been sharing knowledge and research.

Along with caring for her grandfather, Orozco is a travel agent. She is very passionate about traveling and learning new things.

"I escape through my travels," she said. "I love traveling and living my life."

The experience hasn't always been easy; caring for a family member with dementia is a constant learning experience. For Orozco, she said her grandfather's dementia can get extreme and be difficult to handle. However, she is thankful for him and she feels inspired by him.

Looking back, Orozco is thankful that she was able to learn so much through her research and she is still constantly learning as the years go on. Her mom, cousins, and brothers also help care for her grandfather, and she is thankful for the strength of her family.

One thing she hopes people will learn through her solo walk is to get all the information they possibly can.

Angel statue holding flag

Village News/Courtesy photo

The angel statue in front of the Angel Society thrift shop is photographed holding the "Walk to end Alzheimer's" flag.

"If you have a family member with Alzheimer's or dementia, just dive in and use your resources," she said. "Join a support group, learn everything you can, and lean on your family. Let them help."

Orozco believes that her grandfather's diagnosis has been an eye opening experience for her, and she hopes to inspire others to get the help they need for themselves or their families. She also hopes to help others understand the importance of self-care when caring for a family member with dementia or Alzheimer's.

"You need to be selfish sometimes," she said. "Make sure to take care of yourself too. I go out with my girlfriends, even just grocery shopping alone for an hour or two helps. Give yourself breaks."

To learn more information about Alzheimer's and how to get involved in the annual Alzheimer's walks, visit alz.org or call the 24 hour help line at 800-272 3900.

Flag in front of Main Street cafeFlag in front of locomotiveStatue of children holding flagFlag on Main AvenueAngelica Orozco on Alzheimer's walkAngel statue holding flag

 

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