Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area President Eric Gomez thanks Sarah Winkler of the Houston area Alzheimer’s Association for her eye-opening presentation on how to prevent or slow the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. She also provided an update of on current research and info about our local “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” walk-a-thon.
“More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. It kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined,” said Sarah Winkler to Lake Houston Rotarians and guests gathered last week for the club’s weekly meeting at the Lake Houston Family YMCA.
Ms. Winkler is the Regional Manager for the North Harris and Montgomery County Alzheimer’s Association. She was hosted by the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area to speak to club members and guests about Alzheimer’s Disease, the current research on how to prevent or slow its progression and how club members and the public can help fight Alzheimer’s by participating, volunteering, or donating to the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s”.
During her presentation, Ms. Winkler shared the most recent statistics available about how many people’s lives are affected by this insidious disease. “One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia,” she continued.
In 2020, Covid-19 contributed to a 17% increase in Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths. Over 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. These caregivers provided more than 16 billion hours of care valued at nearly $272 billion.
More than 80% of Americans know little or are not familiar with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which can be an early stage of Alzheimer’s.
It helps to know there are several different types of dementia, she explained. Alzheimer’s is just one form.
Dementia is an umbrella term for the loss of memory and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. They include Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Lewy body, Frontotemporal, Mixed dementia (from more than one source) and Other, which includes Huntington’s.
She shared the results of a new study called the Finland Finger Study. The study group all had PET scans before and after the study. The study concluded behavior changes could possibly prevent or slow Alzheimer’s or other dementias. By increasing their healthy behaviors, the healthy behavior group saw a 30% reduction verses the control group.
The study was encouraging enough that a larger, worldwide 5-year rolling study is currently being conducted. This is being done to validate the Finland study with different ethnic groups and populations having different health care circumstances.
Healthy behaviors for your brain include keep moving (walking, jogging, swimming, sports, etc.), healthy eating, getting a full night’s sleep, healthy heart activities (watch the cholesterol, exercise your heart muscle, etc.), protecting your head (for example with a helmet when appropriate) and quit smoking.
“We don’t know how to reverse it, she said” But socialization and healthy behaviors for your brain appears to help slow it down.”
It’s important to know the Alzheimer Association provides a 24/7 helpline 365 days per year at (800) 272-3900. Through this free service, you will speak directly with specialists and/or master’s-level clinicians, not kids or an answering service. They offer confidential support and information to people living with dementia, caregivers, families and the public.
Dementia and age related educational related resources are also available free from the Alzheimer’s Association. They will help connect you to local programs and services at
They have also partnered with AARP’s Community Resource Finder to provide people with easy access to resources, local community programs and services at
You can help by volunteering, donating and/or participating in the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” walk-a-thon near you. Edward Jones Financial is a national partner with the Alzheimer’s Association. They host walk-a-thons nationwide.
There is a “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” walk-a-thon scheduled for North Harris County in The Woodlands on October 15th. More information is available HERE.
Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area members and guests meet at 11:45 a.m. Wednesdays for their weekly lunch meeting at the Lake Houston Family YMCA, 2420 West Lake Houston Pkwy. in Kingwood.

The Summer Creek Satellite Club meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 8:30 a.m., at Generation Park 3rd floor Nimble Office Suite, 250 Assay St., Houston.
For more information about Rotary or membership, visit or search for our Facebook page @LakeHoustonAreaRotary.