Alzheimer’s Family Education Forum open to public

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First United Methodist Church of Mineola will host an Alzheimer’s and Dementia Family Education Forum from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 at FUMC Ministries Center, 612 N. Newsom St. in Mineola. The forum will be presented by the Alzheimer’s Association Dallas & Northeast Texas Chapter. There is no cost for attending, and it is open to anyone living in Northeast Texas.

Any dementia diagnosis can be life-changing for patient and immediate family. It is important to know that you are not alone and there are great resources and support groups available to assist in the journey. Many times, families affected by dementia prefer to keep silent and often never seek help. It’s something that isn’t talked about at home, work or at church. This needs to change and there is help waiting for you and your loved one.

Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and nearly 14 million will have the disease by 2050. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated to total $290 billion in 2019, increasing to $1.1 trillion by mid-century. Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Many people in Wood County are impacted by dementia, and once diagnosed, patients and caregivers alike are searching for answers about this disease and how to move forward. This forum will be a good start for patients and caregivers to gain a better understanding of the disease itself and will provide many great resources to assist them in their journey.

The June 8 Family Education Forum will include the following two sessions:

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia – This session will explore the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as examine what happens in the brain affected by Alzheimer’s. The program details the risk factors for and three general stages of the disease. The speaker will identify FDA-approved treatments available to treat some symptoms and provide the audience with a look ahead to what’s on the horizon for Alzheimer’s research and will offer helpful Alzheimer’s Association resources.

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body – This session provides information and tips on healthy aging and will include four areas of lifestyle habits that are associated with healthy aging, including cognitive activity, physical health and exercise, diet and nutrition, and social engagement. In each area, the presenter will discuss what is known, drawing on current research, as well as what can be done and steps to take now to improve or maintain overall health in each area.

A resource table will be provided which will include informational brochures that provide a general understanding of Alzheimer’s disease as well as more topic specific such as Caregiver Stress, Legal & Financial Planning, Behaviors, Communications and Activities at Home. There will also be an opportunity for participants to learn more about participating in research trials and advocating for legislative changes to provide greater care and support for families affected by this disease.

If you, a friend or family member are experiencing signs of dementia, consider attending this forum. It will help provide more information and a great team of resources at the Alzheimer’s Association in Tyler.

For more information, questions, or to register for this conference, call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or at alz.org.

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