This morning, as I prepare for my day in my tent in Northern Scotland, I am thinking about how, for people caring for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, every day seems like the longest day. That is why I am doing something I love for someone I love. I’ve lived through it myself – and I want to support all the caregivers and care partners who take this journey together.
Today, and for the next 60 days, I will be walking across Scotland.
Each day, as I walk approximately 20 miles carrying a 50-pound backpack, I will be remembering the years I spent caring for my mother as we experienced her dementia together.
Although I was happy to take on the role of caregiver – and would do it again – it was not easy for either of us.
Today, I want others to know that they are not alone.
I want people experiencing this disease to take advantage of the support groups and other means of comfort that the Alzheimer’s Association provides, for both the person living with the disease and their family. Every one of us needs that support to carry us through. And The Longest Day affords us the ability to do just that.
Today’s hiking goal is 23 miles towards Inverness on the Great Glen Way.
My total walk is 650 miles, to be done in three phases. I am about halfway through phase one, which started at Aviemore and ends at Ullapool in about three weeks. Then I move on to the outer and inner Islands and end my walk along Hadrian’s Wall to Wall’s End. This entire journey will be approximately 1,500,000 steps.
Later tonight I will take ‘the high road’, where I will have beautiful views of Loch Ness, followed by Loch Oich and the crossing of the Oich Bridge. As I enjoy these vistas, I will stay strong and be ready to continue on tomorrow.
Each step will be a step toward the goal of ending Alzheimer’s … for my mom … and for me.
About Anne: Anne Burris is hiking approximately 650 miles, translating to over 1,500,000 steps, across the Scottish Highlands in remembrance of her mother, Ada Burris, and to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. Click here to visit Anne’s team page.