Alzheimer’s disease was discovered in 1901 by a German psychiatrist and has grown to affect 5.7 million Americans, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. There are no answers to the cause and no effective long-term treatments are available. It kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Alzheimer’s has affected 44 million people worldwide and statistics show one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
The 2018 Pierce County Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference is provided for caregivers, family members and friends of individuals who experience Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The event will offer practical information, tools and support to aid in their care of a loved one.
Dr. Mimi Pattison, MD, will be the keynote speaker and present “Recognizing Your Strengths While Making Hard Decisions.” Dr. Pattison, an engaging and inspiring speaker, is the Regional Medical Director for CHI Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care in Tacoma. Her keynote presentation will include practical tips for all caregivers.
In addition to the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of breakout sessions with topics such as 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 share their experiences and engage in discussion with the audience.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that varies in those afflicted, yet there is still no cure. Most researchers now believe the disease begins as much as 20 years before symptoms appear. Between 2000 and 2015, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 123% and the numbers are still rising.
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 conference is sponsored by Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources in collaboration with the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County. It will be held Saturday, Sept. 29 at Rainier View Christian Church, located at 12305 Spanaway Loop Road S., in Tacoma. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the program runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved online or by calling 253-798-8787.