By Lindsay Nixon, Guest Contributor
Forgetting due to fatigue or lack of concentration is one thing, but forgetting how to get home from groceries or the name of a grandchild is another story. Although age-related memory loss and dementia have similar characteristics, each comes with its own set of symptoms.
Many of us have experienced Alzheimer’s disease in a loved one. It can be as scary as it is frustrating. At first, short-term memory fades away, but eventually Alzheimer’s will take on much more, including the ability to walk, bathe, talk and smile. Caregiving becomes a round-the-clock role as the disease progresses, requiring time and attention from those available to provide care.
As part of the Foundation’s Educating America Tour, Michigan residents can attend a free virtual lecture on Wednesday, July 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. AFA President and CEO Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. hopes that by educating families with helpful and practical information, people will be better prepared for the future.
Although the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be a shock, patients and their caregivers have an increasing number of options and resources. Understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related illnesses has improved, giving hope to the Alzheimer community. If the disease is detected early, medications and treatments are available to prolong quality of life, allowing individuals to be active in their own care planning before mental capacity declines.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a nonprofit organization that provides support, education, and services to people and caregivers affected by dementia, which can include Alzheimer’s disease. The AFA also supports funding and research to develop treatments and a possible cure for dementia-related illnesses.
Guest speakers at the conference will include Courtney A. Polenick, Ph.D., attorney Glenn Matecun and Barry Kaufman of the Michigan Dementia Coalition.
Caregivers of people with dementia often put the needs of loved ones ahead of their own. Dr. Polenick’s presentation highlights the tendency of caregivers to prioritize the health of their loved one over their own. She explains how this practice could be harmful – not only to the carer but also to the person they are caring for. Participants will learn strategies for balancing their own health needs while caring for those of their 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. Lawyer 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 necessary documentation to protect your property and your family.
West Bloomfield resident Barry Kaufman has lived 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, Kaufman will discuss the different types of dementia, the warning signs and what can be done. wait as the disease progresses.
For more information or to register for the July 13 virtual conference, 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 hotline at 866-232-8484 or by visiting their website listed above.