Laura Alymer, a social worker at ElderHealth plants a flower to honor her mother in-law in the Alzheimer’s Walk Promise Garden. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® provides flowers to participants committed to ending this disease. Those who walk raise funds and awareness for the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other neurocognitive disorders.
The following excerpt was written by Laura Aylmer, LCSW and originally appeared in the 2021 Fall Edition of the Heart at Home newsletter.
I thought about countless examples in our nation’s history of people taking to the streets, crossing bridges, and walking in solidarity for a just cause.
I thought of walking in terms of the many ways in which putting one foot in front of the other increases risk for falling for so many living with physical and neurocognitive illness; how scary a prospect that can be for individuals themselves and those who are care partners or caregivers.
I thought about many other factors that limit or eliminate someone’s ability to walk, and the innovative and adaptive steps individuals take to remain active and engaged in life.
I reflected on many times when walking provided an emotional outlet when I am facing a life challenge, and all else is failing to lift my mood. Whether around the block, up a mountain trail or along a sandy beach on New York’s Long Island, my hometown, walking delivers on my promise to practice self care.
What comes to mind when you think about walking?
Are your steps speeded up this time of year with the expectations of holiday preparation and celebration?
Has your stride slowed under the weight of any number of responsibilities you may be juggling or burdens you carry?
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one and experiencing a mix of joyful remembrance and deep sorrow as you walk towards this season?
Can space be cleared to take a walk in your mind away from those things that bring worry about the future and towards noticing the gift of the present moment?
Laura Aylmer, LCSW, APHSW-C
Laura Aylmer, LCSW, is a clinical social worker certified in Palliative and Hospice Social Work at the advanced practice level. With over 20 years of experience, Laura brings an empathetic and holistic approach to supporting patients, families, and caregivers as they journey through various stages of chronic and progressive illness. She values time with her family and uses walks in nature, journal writing, and music as paths to peace and well-being.