Victims of Alzheimer's disease, which affects more than 5 million Americans and millions more who have been diagnosed with other forms of dementia, were remembered Sunday night during a candlelight vigil at Ocean Park, a residential care facility in Brookings.
The event was in conjunction with the National Commemorative Candle Lighting, an annual event sponsored by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
The candle lighting is held every November in recognition of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. Local organizations, such as Ocean Park, hold ceremonies in their communities on the same day, uniting individuals from coast to coast, said Dana Maciel, a registered nurse and wellness director at Ocean Park, a residential care facility in Brookings for persons with Alzheimer's and other dementia.
Brief words were shared by dignitaries Les Cohen, Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Gary Milliman, Brookings city manager, while Ocean Park co-owner Bharti Patel passed out lighted candles to those in attendance.
As residents and their families sat in a circle holding their candles, Rosemary Rosengren, whose husband is an Ocean Park resident, spoke for the families of residents with dementia living at Ocean Park.
She reminded people that victims of the disease lead full lives and receive love and support wherever they are.
Rosengren said she has known Bharti and Dr. Jay Patel when they had a vision to build a facility. When her husband became a resident in June, she was welcomed by the staff and has been impressed by the teamwork "to provide optimal care and great love to residents."
Rosengren said she visits daily and has lunch with her husband.
"The community is very blessed to have such an outstanding facility," Rosengren said.
Following her speech, Rosengren and Bobbie Taylor, wife of an Ocean Park resident, read the names of past and current Ocean Park Alzheimer's patients.
Following the outdoor ceremony, the group moved to the activity room for refreshments.