Alzheimer’s caregiver conference in Tacoma

The annual Pierce County Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference – 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 Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The vast majority of care for individuals with Alzheimer’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 “Quick Brown Fox,” a feature-length documentary of her mother’s journey through Alzheimer’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.
“The challenges facing caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s are incredible,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources, a co-sponsor of the conference. “Caregiving 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.”
Also sponsoring the conference is the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County.