Alzheimer’s TN sponsors Caring and Coping Workshop

Susan EspirituOur Town Neighbors, West Knoxville

One of the lessons caregivers learn early in their journey is the need for resources and support. Alzheimer’s Tennessee has provided caregivers ongoing resources and support since its inception 40 years ago. Last Thursday, over 200 attendees joined together at the Caring and Coping Caregivers Workshop sponsored by Alzheimer’s TN.

Cathy Thomas introduced the event reminding everyone of the numerous ALZ TN services such as the 24/7 helpline, caregiver academy, periodic webinars, workshops, support groups, day programs, silver alert kits, and many more services at the site. ALZ TN

Dr. Roberto Fernandez-Romero

Key note presentations at the workshop included Dr. Roberto Fernandez-Romero, Karen Stobbe, and Amelia Crotwell, JD as well as presentations from each partnership represented which included among others: Senior Helpers, Avenir Memory Care, Care Around the Block, AMR.

Dr. Roberto Fernandez-Romero, Director of Pat Summitt Clinic, gave an in-depth and insightful address on many topics related to dementia, mainly how to differentiate, the common types and approaches to diagnosis. He provided staggering statistics, stating that as the sixth leading cause of death, over six million Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He also stated, “It is also the only disease in the top 10 leading cause of deaths that cannot be prevented, effectively treated or cured at this time.”

Karen Stobbe

Karen Stobbe followed Dr. Fernandez-Romero with a more lighthearted presentation called In the Moment, but definitely most beneficial as she addressed the necessity of remembering the individual trapped by dementia. She provided many real-life examples, audience participation activities and personal experiences to lead attendees “to remember the person with dementia is an individual with their own life experiences.”

Strobe presented a poignant example: “What if you woke up in a hotel room to a stranger coming into the room, opening the drapes, and pulling back your blankets. What would you do?” The automatic responses were that some would yell, some would jump up and some would hit at the person. Stobbe pointed out that a person with dementia would react the same way to a stranger in their room, but they would be called aggressive, combative or uncooperative. The lesson is to live in the moment and her free website details many ways to do just that! In the Moment

After a delicious Rothchild’s catered lunch, the afternoon presentation by Elder Law attorney Amelia Crotwell delved into the endless but necessary documents that are needed to protect both the loved one affected by dementia and the family who is responsible for their care. Elder Law TN

The sponsors ensured the day remained a bit lighthearted with over 30 door prizes given out from beach bags to beautiful plants as well as the give aways at their display tables.

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