CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is urging the Cheyenne City Council to reconsider the complete defunding in the city’s 2021 budget of the Laramie County Senior Activity Center.

The local chapter released the following statement:

“For some of our seniors, this is their main source of good nutrition and socialization, as well as the only opportunity for exercise and cognitive activity through classes and their lending library.

“Part of the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to drive risk reduction for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. Research has shown that four elements are crucial to reducing the risk of these cognitive disorders: exercise, diet, cognitive activity and socialization. All four of these elements are provided to our Cheyenne seniors by the Laramie County Senior Activity Center.

“We understand the dire financial situation Cheyenne faces in the midst of this pandemic, especially with the cancelation of Cheyenne Frontier Days. There have been numerous hits to the city’s revenue, and we know the City Council is having to make tough choices.

“But eliminating the funding for the Laramie County Senior Activity Center will come with real costs, both in the quality of life for seniors in Cheyenne, as well as the financial costs to our seniors.

”The center has estimated that about 13,000 fewer meals will be served in Cheyenne. Those seniors who count on those meals will have to find food somewhere else, not an easy option for someone living on a fixed income that doesn’t provide much room for extra expenses.

”But it isn’t just the meals. Without the opportunity to socialize and exercise through the center, seniors could face higher risks for depression and worse health outcomes.

“We know cuts have to be made. But the complete elimination of funding for the Laramie County Senior Activity Center can’t be the way the city balances its budget. We are imploring our city leaders to find another way to keep some funding headed to some of Cheyenne’s most vulnerable population.”

For more information, contact Janet Lewis, executive director and a member of the Cheyenne community, at jlewis@alz.org.

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