FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 10, 2009
‘Today’ Show’s Joy Bauer to Keynote Alzheimer’s Foundation National Conference
Powerful Dementia-Related ‘Quilt to Remember’ to be Displayed
NEW YORK, NY — As Alzheimer’s disease takes hold of more aging Americans, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) will host a free national conference in Chicago on September 24 that will offer strategies for individuals living with the disease today and those hoping to head it off tomorrow.
Joy Bauer, nutrition and health contributor for the “Today” show, will keynote the day-long conference, providing attendees with practical insight into feeding a healthy lifestyle and brain. Also on this topic, Paul D. Nussbaum, Ph.D., chairman of AFA’s Prevention Advisory Board, will discuss “Brain Health across the Lifespan.”
Piggybacking AFA’s 4th annual Concepts in Care Conference, to further raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, AFA will display its powerful AFA Quilt to Remember, the nation’s first grand-scale quilt that pays tribute to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Dozens of heartfelt panels, including some from the Chicago area, will be on view; the display is open to the general public as well as conference attendees.
The conference is geared toward family caregivers, healthcare professionals and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and includes sessions in Spanish. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 2233 South Martin L. King Drive , from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“Education about Alzheimer’s disease is paramount if we want to attack this crisis head-on,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and chief executive officer. “People shouldn’t stand idle in the face of this devastating disease. Healthy lifestyle choices can help chip away at risk factors, and practical strategies and support from family, friends and the community can ease daily challenges.”
As Bauer addresses successful aging, she will pepper her presentation with her own experiences in having watched the disease affect family and friends.
In stressing the importance of this topic, she said, “Though Alzheimer’s disease is strongly influenced by genetic factors, research continues to reveal that diet and lifestyle also play a crucial role in preserving brain health as we age.”
Attendees will also gain a rare glimpse into life with Alzheimer’s disease, both through a panel composed of individuals in the early stages of the illness who will relay their experiences and a “Virtual Dementia Tour” that simulates what it feels to carry out tasks when dementia is present.
In addition, the conference will explore the power of using creative arts therapies for stimulation and socialization, as well as provide a special track for individuals with dementia that will engage them in art, music, drama and dance movement.
A separate track for Spanish-language attendees will look at ways to overcome barriers to diagnosis, treatment and care among Hispanics—a population at greater risk of the disease.
Other top experts will address issues that arise daily for family and professional caregivers, including effective communication techniques, avoiding burnout and coping with challenging behaviors.
The conference includes breakfast and lunch, an exhibit hall and free respite care to facilitate attendance by family caregivers. Continuing education units will be available. For more information and to register, call 866-AFA-8484.
Currently, as many as 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence is expected to escalate in line with the nation’s aging population. Age is the greatest risk factor for the disease, which causes loss of memory and other intellectual functions and is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with the disease and their caregivers, and unites more than 1,200 member organizations that provide hands-on programs to meet educational, emotional, practical and social needs. For more information, visit www.alzfdn.org or call 866-AFA-8484.
Note: We’d be happy to arrange interviews with Joy Bauer and other experts, as well as with panelists who have contributed to the AFA Quilt to Remember.
Contact: Carol Steinberg