The annual Pierce County Alzheimerâ€™s Caregiver Conference â€“ a source of information, support and encouragement for caregivers, family members and friends who are giving care in the home – will be held Sept. 25 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Tacoma.
The event, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, is free, but RSVP is required by calling (253) 798-8787. The church is at 1315 N. Stevens.
Alzheimer’s is officially the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause for those age 65 and older. About one in three seniors dies with Alzheimerâ€™s or another dementia. The vast majority of care for individuals with Alzheimerâ€™s happens in the home, provided by family members.
The caregiver conference will feature Ann Hedreen, who is a writer, teacher, caregiver and filmmaker. She produced â€œQuick Brown Fox,â€ a feature-length documentary of her motherâ€™s journey through Alzheimerâ€™s and the impact her illness had on the family. Additional sessions will focus on legal issues, caregiving tips and in-home help, including pet therapy. Local service providers and community-based resources will also be on hand for participants to gain a better understanding of local supports.
Other featured authors will include Lon Cole, a Puyallup resident with early-onset Alzheimer’s who has two books of poems about dealing with the diseas, and Pat Woodell, Brenda Niblock and Jeri Warner, sisters who co-wrote “Are the Keys in the Freezer?” Their book is a family story about dementia.
â€œThe challenges facing caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s are incredible,â€ said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources, a co-sponsor of the conference. â€œCaregiving places incredible physical and emotional demands on spouses and families. While researchers continue to seek a cure, the best we can do right now is to provide the best support possible to those individuals who continue to provide loving care to people with dementia.â€
Also sponsoring the conference is the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County.