November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. In the United States, 5.4 million people are currently living with Alzheimer's disease. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the only cause of death among the top 10 that can’t be prevented, cured or even slowed. These facts are mirrored in the 2012 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures Report.

Kindred is a corporate sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association, and also does fundraising at the local level. Since 2005, Kindred and its employees have contributed more than $3.5 million to the Alzheimer’s Association through participation in its “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.” Each year, about 3,000 employees participate in more than 100 walks across the United States. “The walks are our main fundraising event,” says Gloria Jelinek, Vice President of Regulatory and Quality Management, Kindred Healthcare. “So far this year, we’re raised a little over $180,000 and have 121 teams signed up for walks.” Click here to see actual pictures from Kindred's 2012 Alzheimer's Walks.Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Jelinek sits on the board of directors of the Kentucky Alzheimer’s Association. “The local boards oversee fundraising activities,” she says. “Each state chapter has contacts at Kindred’s centers that they can reach out to for help with fundraising.”

In the spring, the Kentucky board holds a luncheon to kick off the new walk season. “Members of the community, and all of the team captains, are invited to attend,” says Jelinek. “We have motivational speakers and usually a local celebrity speaker. We also have discussions about our goals for the year, how to manage teams, and about fundraising.”

Jelinek says that it is important for Kindred to support the Alzheimer’s Association because the disease affects so many of Kindred’s patients, their families and the communities they serve. “The number of people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s each year keeps rising,” she says. “We’re dedicated to finding a cure for this disease.”