Longest bingo game is over; hope for Alzheimer’s and for a record

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 18:47:13-04

A Crowley family and Elder Outreach are teaming up to raise money for the fight against Alzheimer’s by setting a world record.

By 3 p-m Thursday, it was all over. What some hope to be the longest bingo game on record was played to bring funding and awareness to Alzheimer’s.
"Alzheimer’s is often referred to as the longest goodbye," said Christine Payton, Team Mergist member. "A day in the life of someone with Aalzheimer’s is long days, you know, and I think that’s symbolic." 
Members of the Mergist family say they want to help the Alzheimer’s Association on its national fundraising day, The Longest Day, and thought a 24-hour bingo game sounded like a fun way to give back.
"We had to have a core team of six members who have played bingo for 24 hours," Payton said. "We have to have witnesses. We have callers. We have to have statements that have to be signed. And, also we’re video taping the event in it’s entirety." 
Team Mergist says they had a very personal reason to work on the record and champion the cause.
"My mother was a Mergist. She has Alzheimer’s disease, as did my grandma and two of my aunts," Payton said. 
About 500 people went to the Southwind Healthcare and Rehab Clinic to play.

Even a few lawmakers got in on the action, visiting the clinic to show their support.

The seniors living in other Elder Outreach communities — also joined in.
"It makes us feel like, I don’t know I guess Crowley’s big enough to have people from other places and come and enjoy this with us. We like that," says Hazel Villejoin, a Southwind Healthcare Senior Living resident. "We like all these people around and just mulling and just you know enjoying each other." 
While the idea of helping people with Alzheimer’s offered plenty of motivation, bingo players say they were excited to win a few little prizes along the way.
hazel villejoin / southwind healthcare and rehab resident 
"I won a scarf, put it around my neck. Odd and ends, Kleenex," she said.
The Mergist family will submit their video and witness testimonies to the Guiness Book of World Records — with hopes of hosting the longest bingo game in the world.