By: Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA President and CEO
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) will host a free Alzheimer’s & Caregiving Educational Conference for Alabama residents on Wednesday, March 13 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Hilton Birmingham at UAB (808 20th Street South, Birmingham) as part of its 2024 national Educating America Tour. The free conference is open to everyone and will allow participants to learn from experts in the field of Alzheimer’s disease, brain health, and caregiving. To register, go to www.alzfdn.org/tour. Advance registration is highly recommended.
“Knowledge is a powerful tool that can help make any situation easier to navigate, especially something as challenging as caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Charles Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s President & CEO. “Connecting families with practical information and support that can help them now and be better prepared for the future. Whether Alzheimer’s is affecting your family, you are a caregiver or just want to learn more about brain health, we invite you to join us on March 13.”
Sessions during the AFA conference will include:
The Changing World of Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis and Treatment– Early diagnosis of memory issues, including Alzheimer’s disease, is vital. It allows greater opportunity to begin treatments that can help slow the symptoms of the disease, as well as taking part in a clinical trial. In addition, it affords the person the chance to take advantage of community services, such as support groups and therapeutic programming, which can help maximize quality of life, as well as have a greater say in making legal, financial and health care decisions. Erik Roberson, MD, PhD will discuss the recently approved amyloid immunotherapy treatment and evolving methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease including the use of blood tests.
Roberson is Rebecca Gale Endowed Professor at the UAB School of Medicine, Director of UAB’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and Director of the UAB Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics. He is a neurologist and neuroscientist whose research is focused on age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
The Importance of Early Planning– Having the proper legal documents in place is essential to ensure that your healthcare, legal and financial wishes are carried out as you want. It’s especially important as we age. Leisa Azkew, SW, will provide insight on being prepared for aging in place. She will review what documents need to be in place, what information both the family and doctors should know, and how to make your desires and needs known. Azkew is a Dementia Care Specialist with the Alabama Care Program at the Lee Russell Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging.
Care for the Caregiver: The Whys and Hows– Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be an overwhelming experience that should never be undertaken alone. Renee Brown Harmon, MD will provide tips and guidance to families caring for a loved one with dementia, based on lessons she learned while caring for her husband, Harvey, who lived with Alzheimer’s disease. She will discuss why family caregivers need to care for themselves, why it can be difficult to do, and practical tips on asking for help and continue finding joy.
Harmon, a retired family medicine physician who lives in Birmingham, is the author of Surfing the Waves of Alzheimer’s: Principles of Caregiving That Kept Me Upright.
Free, confidential memory screenings will be conducted throughout the day.
For more information or to register for the March 13 conference in Birmingham, visit www.alzfdn.org/tour. Those who cannot participate in the conference or have immediate questions about Alzheimer’s disease can connect with licensed social workers seven days a week through AFA’s National Toll-Free Helpline by calling 866-232-8484, texting 646-586-5283, or web chatting at www.alzfdn.org by clicking the blue and white chat icon in the right-hand corner of the page. The web chat and text message features are available in more than 90 languages.
About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support, services and education to individuals, families and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias nationwide and to fund research for better treatment and a cure. Its services include a National Toll-Free Helpline (866-232-8484) staffed entirely by licensed social workers, caregiver support groups, educational programs and publications for caregivers, dementia-care training for healthcare professionals, the National Memory Screening Program, and more. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, or connect with us on Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, or LinkedIn. AFA holds Charity Navigator’s top 4-star rating.