Roberts man is Memory Walk honorary chairFred Kuebker of Roberts was selected as the honorary chair for this year’s St. Croix County Memory Walk, scheduled Saturday morning, Sept. 19, in New Richmond.
Fred Kuebker of Roberts was selected as the honorary chair for this year’s St. Croix County Memory Walk, scheduled Saturday morning, Sept. 19, in New Richmond.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Deerfield, 1127 W. Eighth St., for a short course under two miles or a 3-mile walk.
“Dedication. If there’s one word that can sum up Fred Kuebker’s support for helping those with Alzheimer’s it’s that … and understanding,” said Nancy Abrahamson, caregiver support coordinator for St. Croix County Aging and Disability Resource Center, formerly the Department on Aging.
“Fred volunteered long before he started coming to the DayAway Club. His quiet dedication as a volunteer for memory care programs makes him an excellent honorary chair for this year’s Memory Walk.”
Kuebker first began his support for people with memory impairment advocating for his wife and then as a volunteer driver providing rides to DayAway Club programs. Once there, he started helping with the activities.
“I do whatever they need me to do: serve coffee and cookies, help with a craft project, help people with their lunch or maybe watch a movie or just visit with the participants,” said Kuebker.
The DayAway Program provides socialization and activities that challenge the mind and body for those with dementia and offers six hours of respite for the caregiver.
The six-hour day includes activities, lunch and a rest period.
The program has a small fee, with scholarships available if eligible. Kuebker has done cost comparisons of other programs for those with Alzheimer’s and tells others that DayAway is a low-cost, high-impact program when compared with home care, assisted living and skilled nursing care. He gets frustrated when people resist paying the small charge and can’t see the potential benefit they and their loved one can gain from participation.
“Participation in early stages actually has been found to help those with memory loss stay at home longer which is what we all want,” says Abrahamson.
Kuebker has first-hand experience as a caregiver also. A dedicated and devoted husband, his wife, Helen has Alzheimer’s. Helen was first diagnosed in 2001 and moved to Our House Assisted Living in New Richmond in 2007.
“We’ll have been married for 62 years in October,” says Kuebker. “I come to see her every day. I’ve only missed three days in the last two and a half years. They say that human touch is one of the best therapies, so we hold hands and cuddle. What else do I have to do?
“With Alzheimer’s, people run on their routines. Those who live with them don’t notice until the bomb hits. Others will notice the changes but are afraid to say anything. If there’s one thing I’d share about Alzheimer’s is that it’s important not to ‘hide’ anything from the spouse. It’s so important to have open communication. It can really help the situation. We went for five or six years without help. Finally our daughters got help for us. We got involved in DayAway. I attend a caregiver support group. These are resources available to everyone. It’s your tax dollars at work. People should use the resources available,” said Kuebker.
“Where the ADRC has helped most is with finances,” he added. “Alzheimer’s is long-term with no end in sight. It can be financially draining. But the ADRC benefit specialist can help you access resources. They work with it every day and know what’s available to help.”
All funds raised at the walk go to the Alzheimer’s Association to fund local programs that help people with Alzheimer’s.
For more information, including team information, contact event coordinator Jackie Waalen at (715) 243-3912.