2021 Alzheimer’s Conference brings information and inspiration to caregivers

Nearly half of all caregivers who provide help to older adults do so for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Right now, more than six million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, and that number is projected to grow to 12.7 million in the next three decades.

Individuals, family members and professional caregivers struggling with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are invited to the 2021 Pierce County Alzheimer’s Conference, hosted in partnership with the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County. Subject-matter experts will provide useful information, practical skills and inspiring stories during virtual presentations on Mondays and Wednesdays November 1-10. The conference is free and open to the public, but attendees must pre-register online or by calling the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600.

Presentations will take place from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Topics and presenters include:

Monday, Nov. 1: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!

Addressing the initial diagnosis, identifying and treating symptoms, managing early-stage behaviors, preserving self-care, legal issues, financial planning, and veteran services.

Wednesday, Nov. 3: There’s No Place Like Home

Featuring guidance on care funding and maintaining health and safety at home including home care, home health, physician care and local support groups.

Monday Nov. 8: Welcome to The Land of Oz!

Focusing on later steps, such as deciding when a care facility is needed, finding quality care, determining the right level of care, and the required legal documents.

Wednesday, Nov. 10: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Exploring final decision-making including coping with grief and loss while maintaining self-care. Hospice care professionals will also share their expertise in finding inspiration and joy during the sadness when saying the “good good-bye.”

This year’s conference theme, “Follow the Purple Brick Road,” incorporates the official color for the fight against Alzheimer’s, and the event takes place during Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The event link and instructions will be provided upon registration. Additional information about speakers, presentations and resources can be found at www.piercecountywa.gov/alz. Participants are encouraged to ask questions. The conference will be recorded and made available online with supplementary resources for guests unable to attend.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic has created incredibly challenging times for families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources manager. “Now more than ever they need support, information and resources. The 2021 Alzheimer’s Conference remains online in a virtual format to be safer and more accessible for the thousands of our residents who live with these diseases day in and day out.”

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can cause cognitive impairment including memory loss, frequently repeating the same questions or stories, not recognizing familiar people and places, having trouble exercising judgment, changes in mood and behavior, and wandering, in addition to difficulty carrying out tasks such as taking medications, dressing properly, and maintaining personal hygiene.

For more information about the conference, call the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600 or 800-562-0332.

– Pierce County