The 16th Annual Memory Loss Conference takes place on November 7-8, 2011 in Springfield, Illinois, and I just registered to attend for the first time this year. I’m looking forward to this as an educational opportunity to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia from local authorities on the subject as well as nationally recognized experts. The first day of the conference is geared towards the general public, including persons with memory loss, family members, caregivers and others interested in issues related to memory loss. While I previously fell into both the family members and caregivers categories while my mother suffered through Alzheimer’s, now I’m simply categorized as others interested in issues related to memory loss.
I’m particularly interested in the following two sessions from the six offered on the first day of the conference:
Session 1 is titled “What is Dementia?” and presented by Dr. Tom Ala, the interim director at the Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders at SIU School of Medicine. While this looks like a good introductory overview of dementia, I’m more interested in hearing Dr. Ala speak for the first time after reading a local article on his first-of-its-kind study to focus on Alzheimer’s caregivers, instead of those suffering from Alzheimer’s, to examine caregivers stress levels, physical fitness and psychological health. Knowing first-hand the extreme, long-term difficulties that Alzheimer’s caregivers and families face, I’d really like to learn more about Dr. Ala’s clinical research with caregivers and how that is progressing.
Session 2 is titled “Unlocking the Silent Prison: Strategies for Communicating with Persons with Dementia” and presented by Michelle S. Bourgeois, a Professor at Ohio State University. Because I’ve written previously about Michelle Bourgeois’s ground-breaking strategies for better communication with dementia sufferers, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear her discuss these tactics in person right here in my hometown.
The Memory Loss Conference agenda includes four other sessions during a full-day scheduled from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., so I’m certain to learn many other interesting details regarding Alzheimer’s and dementia. Stay tuned for my future discoveries from this conference!
Photo courtesy of SIU School of Medicine