Friday, September 9, 2011 | 12:14 a.m. CDT
COLUMBIA — The Alzheimer’s Association will dedicate a Garden of Hope at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the courtyard of its Columbia headquarters, 2400 Bluff Creek Drive.
The ceremony is open to the public and will include a ribbon cutting, dedication and candlelight vigil.
Donors have purchased engraved bricks, floral arrangements, urns and a fountain centerpiece to adorn the garden. There will be an opportunity to purchase the same memorials after the dedication.
"It’s a chance for people who want to support those efforts to memorialize a loved one or honor a loved one through the purchase of a brick or another garden element," said Ashley Burden, the communications and public policy director.
The Garden of Hope will support the programs and services of the association. Efforts include the Caregiver Respite Reimbursement Program, which provides money each month for in-home care to give caregivers a period of respite.
"Care is what some people call the 36-hour day," Burden said. "It requires a lot of emotional and physical effort from the caregiver to provide the type of care that people with Alzheimer’s disease often need."
Linda Newkirk, executive director of the mid-Missouri chapter, said the garden will also provide a place for reflection and respite for caregivers.
"We thought the garden was kind of symbolic of a place where you could go and just be by yourself and take a breathe and just a moment of pause in the really difficult role that caregivers have to assume," Newkirk said.
The association has raised almost $10,000 for the garden so far.
We envision a place that symbolizes the ongoing journey of what it is to be a caregiver because it doesn't necessarily ever end," Burden said. "If you lose someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, they're still with you forever in some way."