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home : news : lifestyles February 24, 2020

10/27/2019 6:21:00 PM
Goforths Help In Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease
Donations still being taken for worthy cause
Roy Goforth speaks during the recent walk benefitting Alzheimer’s disease research.
(Photos Courtesy Bob Mulholland)

Roy Goforth speaks during the
recent walk benefitting
Alzheimer’s disease research.

(Photos Courtesy Bob Mulholland)

(Above) The Goforths are joined by some of their fellow walkers.
(Above) The Goforths are joined by
some of their fellow walkers.

Lincoln Herald Staff

Twenty-five years ago, Roy Goforth learned that his father-in-law had a stroke.

Goforth’s father-in-law was then diagnosed with vascular dementia––a disease that began deteriorating his memories. Goforth’s wife, Dona, became a caregiver for her father, and her personal experience with the disease sparked an idea: that she and her husband should use their passion to help other caregivers.

So what did they do? According to spokeswoman Madison Roberts of the Alzheimer’s Association, Western Carolina Chapter, they opened Home Instead Senior Care in Gastonia to offer in-home care-giving services to the elderly, including those living with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Dona’s father being diagnosed was the catalyst for us getting into the business we are in now,” Mr. Goforth said. “A lot of the people we were caring for were living with dementia, and that always reminded us of Dona’s father.”

And now, as Roberts added, Alzheimer’s has hit close to home once again. A few years ago, Goforth’s father, who was once independent and social, lost the ability to carry on open-ended conversations, and he lost interest in the things he once loved. 

“He knows something is wrong, but he can’t control it,” Goforth said. “He doesn’t like to be put in that situation.”

While navigating his diagnosis, the Goforths were seeking a way to further their passion of helping people, and they aligned themselves with the Alzheimer’s Association, Western Carolina Chapter. 

“We have the same passion and mission as the Alzheimer’s Association: a world without Alzheimer’s,” said Mr. Goforth, now the board chairman for the Western Carolina Chapter. 

Roberts continued that more than 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 170,000 people in North Carolina. Being a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia can be an emotional experience. But it’s a reality for 16 million people nationwide, including 473,000 people in North Carolina. In 2018, friends and family of those with Alzheimer’s in North Carolina provided an estimated 538 million hours of unpaid care––a contribution valued at $6.8 billion. During the month of November, which is National Family Caregivers Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is emphasizing the resources provided specifically to caregivers, according to Western Carolina Chapter CEO Katherine Lambert.

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“We are committed to enhancing care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” said Lambert. “During this month and throughout the year, we encourage caregivers to reduce stress and be healthy and for people to lend a hand in helping caregivers survive and thrive.”

The Alzheimer’s Association, Western Carolina Chapter wants to assure caregivers that they are not alone. The association provides around-the-clock support for those caregivers through support groups, educational programs, Internet resources and a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week helpline (1-800-272-3900). The association has a wealth of resources and information on its website at

In Gaston County, the association provides a support group for caregivers. It has worked in partnership with the local community to provide educational programs to constituents, such as a recent “Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis” workshop. 

“Being a caregiver is not a sought-out job,” said Goforth. “But a lot of times, people have to become one, because that’s the hand they’ve been dealt. Often, Alzheimer’s is more difficult on the caregivers than the people who have the disease. Caregivers need help, and the Alzheimer’s Association provides all of those resources if people are willing to ask for them.”

These critical care and support services are mostly funded by the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s disease care, support and research. The Alzheimer’s Association, Western Carolina Chapter hosts 13 walks across central and western North Carolina, including one in Gaston County, which took place on Sept. 7. 

This year, Mr. and Mrs. Goforth were the co-chairmen of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for Gaston, Cleveland and Lincoln counties. They helped plan the event, held at the Rotary Centennial Pavilion in Gastonia, from start to finish. 

“Ending Alzheimer’s is the main cause we are committed and dedicated to,” said Goforth. “It affects a large majority of the people we work with and care for. It has touched everyone in some way.”

More than 535 people came out to the walk and helped raise more than $71,600 to fund care, support and research. However, even though the walk is over, the fight to end Alzheimer’s never stops. Walk donations are still being accepted through Dec. 31. See the Website at to make your donations now.

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