Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Offering Online Seminar
By Lindsay Nixon, Guest Contributor
Forgetfulness from fatigue or lack of focus is one thing but forgetting how to get home from the grocery store or a grandchild’s name is a different story. While age-related memory loss and dementia have similar characteristics, each comes with its own unique set of symptoms.
Many of us have experienced Alzheimer’s in a loved one. It can be as frightening as it is frustrating. At first, short-term memory slips away but Alzheimer’s will eventually take much more – including the ability to walk, bathe, speak, and smile. Caregiving becomes an around-the-clock role as the disease progresses, demanding time and attention from those who are available to provide care.
As part of the Foundation’s Educating America Tour, Michigan residents can attend a free virtual conference on Wednesday, July 13th from 10:00 am to 12:45 pm. AFA President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. hopes that by educating families with useful and practical information, people will be better prepared for the future.
Although an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be a shock, patients and their caregivers have a growing number of options and resources. The understanding of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses has improved, providing hope within the Alzheimer’s community. If the disease is caught early, medication and treatment are available to prolong the quality of life, allowing individuals to be active in their own care planning before mental capacity diminishes.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a non-profit organization that provides support, education, and services to individuals and caregivers affected by dementia, which can include Alzheimer’s disease. The AFA also supports funding and research for developing treatments and a possible cure for dementia-related illnesses.
Featured speakers for the conference will include Courtney A. Polenick, Ph.D., attorney Glenn Matecun, and Barry Kaufman of the Michigan Dementia Coalition.
Caregivers of those diagnosed with dementia often put the needs of their loved ones ahead of their own. Dr. Polenick’s presentation points out the tendency of caregivers to prioritize their loved one’s health at the expense of their own. She argues how this practice could be detrimental - not only to the caregiver but also to the person for whom they are caring. Attendees will learn strategies to balance their own health needs while attending to those of loved ones.
Creating a solid legal foundation to protect a loved one’s estate, while planning for the long-term care of someone with dementia can be overwhelming. Attorney Glenn Matecun, who specializes in estate planning and elder law, describes the process as a “maze to navigate”. During the seminar, Matecun will cover the documentation necessary to protect your assets and your family.
Barry Kaufman, a West Bloomfield resident, has been living with Lewy Body Dementia for 12 years. As an active participant in research and support groups with the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan, Mr. Kaufman will discuss the different types of dementia, warning signs, and what one can expect as the disease progresses.
For more information or to register for the virtual conference on July 13th, visit www.alzfdn.org/tour. For those unable to participate or who have questions about Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America provides access to licensed social workers through their National Toll-Free Helpline at 866-232-8484 or by visiting their website listed above.