Alzheimer’s Conference Offers Hope, Support for Caregivers

Submitted by Advanced Health Care

German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer identified the first case of what became known as Alzheimer’s disease in 1901. Since then the disease has grown to affect 5.7 million Americans – and 44 million people worldwide – living with Alzheimer’s.

The cause of Alzheimer’s remains a mystery. There are no effective long-term treatments. The cure remains elusive.

The 2018 Pierce County Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference is provided for caregivers, family members and friends of individuals who experience Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The event will provide practical information, tools and support to aid in their care of a loved one. The conference is free and open to the public.

“Alzheimer’s is often described as ‘the long goodbye’,” said Trish Cooper, president of the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County and chair of the event. “During the process of the disease, families can only watch as their loved one gradually disappears. That places tremendous stress on them as the demands of caregiving constantly increase. Our conference goes a long way to helping caregivers take care of themselves and better care for their loved one.”

Dr. Mimi Pattison, MD, will be the keynote speaker and discuss “Recognizing Your Strengths while Making Hard Decisions.” Dr. Pattison is an engaging and inspiring speaker. She is the Regional Medical Director for CHI Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care in Tacoma. The keynote will include practical tips and helps for all caregivers.

In addition to the keynote presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of breakout sessions on managing challenging behaviors, physical movement and balance, interactive activities and legal issues. A special interactive forum will end the day as individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers will share their experiences and engage in discussion with the audience.

Alzheimer’s is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and continues to grow. Between 2000 and 2015, deaths from heart disease decreased by 11%. At the same time, deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 123%. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Today, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that varies in each individual. Most researchers now believe the disease begins as much as 20 years before symptoms appear. The Alzheimer’s Association has identified 10 warning signs, including memory loss, confusion with time or place, problems with words in speaking and writing, misplacing things, poor judgment and others. Many families delay contacting their physician because the symptoms may not be recognized or understood as potential symptoms.

The free conference is sponsored by the Pierce County Health Care Providers Council.  It will be held Saturday, September 29. Doors open at 8:00 a.m., program begins at 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. located at Rainier View Christian Church, 12305 Spanaway Loop Road S., in Tacoma. While the event is free, reservations are required online or by calling 253-798-8787.

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