Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | March 28, 2005

Conference Will Educate, Support Growing Population of Alzheimer's Caregivers
Actress Deidre Hall Will Share Family's Experience


NEW YORK, NY—The increasing number of Floridians caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease will be able to gain greater understanding of the brain disorder and hands-on tools to meet the 24/7 challenges of care at a statewide conference on May 3 presented by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA).

They will also garner insight from a celebrity who knows first-hand the difficult role caregivers face: Actress Deidre Hall, best known for creating the character of Dr. Marlena Evans on "Days of Our Lives," will share her family's experience with Alzheimer's disease.

AFA will hold the conference, called "Concepts in Care," on May 3 from 8 am to 5 pm at the Wyndham Palace Resort and Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL. It is geared toward both family and professional caregivers. To help family members attend, AFA will offer free on-site respite care for individuals with dementia.

Professionals can choose sessions from the family caregiver track or professional track, or sign up for an all-day training program that leads to AFA's unique new qualification as a Dementia Care Provider.

"The Alzheimer's journey is unpredictable and unforgiving. With no cure on the horizon, learning key strategies of care is invaluable to get through each day," said Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer.

In his keynote address, Eric Pfeiffer, M.D., director of the Suncoast Gerontology Center at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, will discuss the state of Alzheimer's disease today, including heightened recognition of the benefits of early detection and intervention.

Noted Pfeiffer: "There are really two victims of Alzheimer's disease: the patient and the family caregiver. It would be difficult to judge who faces the greater burden. Moreover, caregivers are the lifeline to the person with Alzheimer's disease. So caregivers need care too, so that they can continue to provide care to their family member."

Other sessions will explore managing sexual aggression, dealing with concerns about driving, maximizing healthcare visits, and home makeovers to accommodate those with dementia. Attendees will also have the rare opportunity to share concerns during a town hall forum, laying the groundwork to enhance advocacy efforts for government support for "care."

Admission is $30 in advance/$35 at the door for family caregivers, and $70 in advance/$85 at the door for healthcare professionals. The training/qualification program costs $75; participants must sign up beforehand. The conference's presenting sponsor is Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc. For more information or to register, visit www.alzfdn.org or call toll-free 866-232-8484.

AFA selected Florida for "Concepts in Care" due to its rank as the state with the highest percentage of residents aged 65 and older. Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease; the illness strikes one in ten aged 65 and older and nearly one in two aged 85 and older. Currently, an estimated 500,000 Floridians have the disease, and it is projected that the number of cases will nearly double by 2030.

To address this pressing health concern even further, AFA is piggybacking this meeting with a groundbreaking training conference-"Caring for the Community"-for executives of Florida-based, Alzheimer's-related organizations at the same hotel on May 2 and 3.

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national, nonprofit organization that focuses on care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families. Its services include a hotline, counseling, educational materials, local referrals, and a free caregiver magazine, Vantage™. For more information, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org .

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 1-866-AFA-8484