AZ WEST
District No. 0520

Memory Care


Sun City Elks Lodge #2559 Walk to End Alzheimer Disease

For the fifth year the Sun City Elks Lodge #2559 registered a Team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Sun City West. This year the Lodge and 50 donors and/or walkers for the 10/14/17 Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised over $6,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association joining the fight for Alzheimer’s First Survivor.  In 2012 the Lodge began a Memory Care Meet and Greet Program team that visit facilities with Alzheimer/dementia units every week with therapy dogs, singing songs, demonstrating and playing drums and maracas with music, recognizing birthdays and all veterans, then talking to and leaving each resident with a stuffed animal. Starting in 2013, partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association for this Walk each year, was another activity that the same volunteers decided to start in hopes that this disease could be eliminated in the not too distant future.

History of this Program

In late 2011 Ed McDonnell was recovering from a severe case of Valley Fever.  Because of this he had previously given up the award winning Drug Awareness Program he had chaired for over 12 years.  As he was recovering and feeling better, he began looking for an area in our community that needed some attention.  He had a mother who had Alzheimer’s and he started focusing on the care facilities in our Lodge geographic area that had Alzheimer’s/Dementia units.  Realizing that the residents in these units seldom to never received visitors, this program began to take shape and the Memory Care Meet and Greet Program was formed.  He requested and received the Lodge’s approval of the program and was given a small budget.  Ed McDonnell had an operation 12/30/14 and after 3 months of being incapacitated from unknown causes, passed away 4/1/15.  To honor him and this wonderful program he started, we continue and grow the Memory Care Meet and Greet Program.

Current Program Summary:  

One of the ways Elks Sun City Lodge #2559 has chosen to practice the motto, “Elks Care, Elks Share” is through our Memory Care Program.    Touching the lives of seniors in our local area who are victims of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia is a segment of our local Elks’ community outreach efforts.  We at Sun City BPOE #2559 visit local Care Facilities with Memory Care Units to spend individual time with residents with service dogs, singing songs, demonstrating and playing flat drums, seeing and feeling a wave drum, recognizing any military service of the residents giving them flag pins, giving corsages to women for that month’s birthdays and birthday cards to men and lap robes to both.  We leave each resident with a cuddly Teddy Bear or stuffed animal or a T-shirt to men.  We close by giving 4” x 6” stick flags to each resident, saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing “God Bless America”.  Music CDs produced by a member of our lodge and sometimes a huge stuffed animal are left for the facility activity room. 

Our lodge members donate most of the stuffed animals we use and we have a budget from the lodge for our printed labels (we sticker the bears we give), our thank you notes (for donors and facilities we visit), 4 x 6 flags and any stuffed bears we may need over and above our donated items.  Our other maintenance items we need are donated by our volunteers.

Recognizing that all of us are touched in some way by this terrible disease – we all know friends and loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s - volunteers in our Memory Care Program have chosen to devote our time and selves to this particular cause in hopes we can give a little companionship and joy to often forgotten and sometimes seldom visited residents.  Our mission is to visit one facility each week and share momentary and fleeting thoughts and memories with residents generating smiles, laughter and hugs at these visits.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease

Our Memory Care Meet and Greet program volunteers, partner each year with the Alzheimer’s Association for the Sun City West Walk each October as part of our Lodge Community Service.  We started this walk under Ed McDonnell in 2013 and have continued it each year consistently raising more money for the Alzehimer’s Association with each walk.  We register a team – Sun City Elks Lodge #2559 - and then proceed to raise donations.  During the month of September and October, we register Lodge Members for the Walk, various Lodge groups donate money, and we have two Lodge Members who are large donors and sponsor two Matching Funds Nights where our Lodge Members have been very generous.

While our Memory Care Meet and Greet Program brings cheer to current Alzheimer and dementia residents, we know it is important to fund research, development, education and family assistance so our children and grandchildren may not have this debilitating and heartbreaking disease.  This is our additional mission.

Additional information

We have recently started a dual visit when visiting Benevilla – Mary’s Place.  An additional Benevilla Program is called Helping Partners.  The participants in this program have various disabilities – physical and mental.  They are in the same building as Mary’s Place and we walk over to that side and just talk to them, giving them a little stuffed animal or one of our t-shirts.

We have another offshoot of our program.  We receive a lot of Beanie Babies and we take these to a day care facility at Benevilla – Lucy’s Place or kindergartners at Arizona Charter Academy.  We may expand this as our number of Beanie Baby donations are increasing.

Mary Stokes

Chairman, Memory Care Meet & Greet Program

Sun City Elks Lodge #2559

Phone Contact for information:  623-933-9560


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