By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Health & Beauty | Issue: April 2009
Tonda Ames, vice president of marketing for the Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma and Arkansas Chapter, says the annual education conference provides information, support and an opportunity to share.
There is help for anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s in any capacity. The Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma and Arkansas Chapter presents its 2009 education conference, “The Wisdom of Alzheimer’s,” on Tuesday, June 9 at the Renaissance Hotel, 6808 S. 107th E. Ave. in Tulsa.
This year’s conference focuses on younger-onset, early stage and late stage Alzheimer’s. Keynote speaker Dr. Ira Byock will deliver his message, “Small Miracles, Deep Wisdom: Life Lessons from Dementia Care.”
Dr. Byock is author of “Dying Well” and “The Four Things that Matter Most.” He is the director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire and a professor at Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Byock is a consistent advocate for the voice and rights of dying patients and their families. He has been a featured guest on numerous national television and radio programs, including “ABC Nightline” and “CBS 60 Minutes.”
The conference provides practical information to use in a personal or professional setting. It’s designed for those with a history of Alzheimer’s, family members and caregivers, individuals with early-onset Alzheimer’s, healthcare professionals, caregiver agencies, and anyone interested in learning more about the disease.
Six different breakout sessions include younger-onset and early stages, graceful transitions, disaster preparedness, strategies for advocates, yoga for caregivers, and an update on what you need to know and what you can do. In addition, an ask-the-experts session will provide an opportunity to get answers to legal and medical questions.
Professionals in the healthcare field can receive continuing education credits for their attendance. Vendors will also showcase products and services during the conference.
Tonda Ames, vice president of marketing for the chapter, says Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that touches nearly everyone – a family member, a friend, a neighbor. The numbers are staggering. Every 71 seconds someone in the United States develops this progressive and fatal brain disease. There are 70,000 people afflicted right here in Oklahoma.
“It’s not a normal part of aging,” says Tonda. Although most reported cases involve patients 65 and up, Alzheimer’s can affect people as young as in their late 20s. There is no cure for this disease; medications treat only the symptoms.
Alzheimer’s affects each person in different ways and at a different pace. Living with the disease is a challenging journey for everyone involved. The patient’s needs change and become more demanding as it progresses.
New this year is a post-conference event on June 10 that will feature face-to-face conversations concerning people with younger-onset dementia. “In Our Own Words” is the first opportunity for patients and caregivers to openly share their thoughts and concerns with peers. The event will take place at Asbury United Methodist Church, 6767 S. Mingo.
May 7 is the deadline for early-bird discounts. Cost for the conference, awards luncheon and “In Our Own Words” post-conference discussion is $90 for professionals and $45 for family caregivers, students and those with Alzheimer’s disease. The award luncheon by itself is $40. After May 7, the cost will be $125 for professionals, $60 for caregivers, and $55 for the luncheon. Registration is available online at www.alz.org/alzokar or by calling (800) 272-3900.
Sponsors for the 2009 conference include The Hille Foundation, Saint Francis Health System, Senior Star Living – Burgundy Place and Woodland Terrace, The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Grace Hospice Foundation, St. Simeon’s Episcopal Home, and Acorn Printing.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.