Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

WARWICK – Nora Aman Gurvich of Warwick is the event coordinator for Warwick Valley Winery.

For the past four years, she has also been the primary organizer for the Rhythm & Vines music and wine festival held at the winery each year to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Nora Aman Gurvich, in teal tank top behind her father, who is seated in the front row holding hands with her mother, poses with family members at a recent reunion. Photo provided

“I think the enthusiasm the organizers have is truly why it is such a great success,” she said. “I know there are people who come back year after year. They look forward to it, they have a good time and they’re doing something good for the world.”

This year’s event – which featured live classic rock by the local band Side by Side, wine and a live and silent auction — was held in late July and raised more than $12,000.

Warwick Valley Winery. Photo provided

Gurvich knows from personal experience why the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission is important. Her father is 78 and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Her mother, his primary caregiver, is also starting to show signs of memory loss.

“He was diagnosed with it three years ago, but we think he had it longer ago,” she said, noting that at first she thought he was just trying to get closer to her when he asked her the same questions repeatedly.

Now she and her five siblings help support each other in coping with his illness.

“We all take a day of the week and call my parents every morning and every evening. My sisters go to as many of the doctor appointments as they can,” she said, adding that one of her sisters who lives closer to her parents has been in touch with the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester Chapter, through which the family has been able to get respite care.

Side by Side performs at a previous Rhythm & Vines festival. Photo provided

“It’s nice that it exists,” she said of the respite care. “I don’t think that we know everything that the Alzheimer’s Association can do for the people who are struggling with the disease.”

“My dad was a farmer. When I was 5, we moved to the farm — that was 42 years ago — he quit working for Xerox and became a farmer. He used to say, ‘If you do what you love for a living, you never work a day in your life,’ ” she said.

“He still says it,” she added, noting that he still has lucid moments despite the progression of the disease.

“I just feel lucky to have so much support with all my siblings. It’s still a heavy load,” she said.

For more information about educational programs and other resources the Alzheimer’s Association provides families living with Alzheimer’s, visit the chapter’s website at alz.org/hudsonvalley. The association’s 24-hour helpline is also available at 800-272-3900.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support.  Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s.

The Hudson Valley Chapter’s programs are supported in part by a grant from the New York State Department of Health.

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