Julie Hooley started working in memory care in 2015, and she fell in love with the people she was helping each day. After realizing how many people had a connection to Alzheimer’s disease, she continued her education to learn as much as she could about dementia. Working with people experiencing dementia opened her eyes to the world of challenges that caregivers and families go through when their loved one has the disease.
Julie lives in Pasco, Washington and works as the Campus Life Enrichment Director for Fieldstone Communities in Kennewick. Fieldstone Communities are independent and assisted living, and memory care communities across the state of Washington.
For Julie, Alzheimer’s is personal too. Her grandma, LaVerne, had dementia near the end of her life. Growing up, her grandmother was strict, always expecting her to be helpful to her mother with chores and to act like a proper lady. When Julie was in college, her grandmother came to visit her family, and they realized that grandma LaVerne needed more care. It was at that point that they helped her to move into an adult family home.
“The last few years of her life are some of my best years with my grandmother. With the dementia, she became the sweetest grandma ever. She was always asking about my boyfriend at the time (now my husband), and was never critical of me at all! I believe I got to see how she had always loved me, but in my younger years, she just didn’t know how to express it. With the dementia she ‘forgot’ about the other stuff and just gave me her love,” said Julie.
Julie’s employer, Fieldstone Communities, is the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Chapter Presenting Sponsor. As part of the company’s commitment to the cause, Julie has been involved with the Tri-Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s for four years.
Their Walk team, “Team Fieldstone,” is made up of Julie’s friends and coworkers. “It is something fun for us to do together and really brings out the teamwork in our fundraising events and as coworkers during our normal work days!” she said.
Julie wants people to know that just because somebody is living with dementia doesn’t mean that they are a different person. “Even if they don’t recognize you or are now unable to communicate…they still love you.” She says the people she serves at Fieldstone are still capable of joy, love and compassion. “That is why we need to find a cure for the awful disease so that we can help them find their way home again.”
Julie’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s team will be walking at the Tri-Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Oct. 13. Learn more about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s here. To learn more about Fieldstone Communities, our 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Chapter Presenting Sponsor, click here.
Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease! Find your Walk and start your team at alz.org/walk.