FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | August 24, 2005
New York Conferences Will Offer Support to Alzheimer's Caregivers and Professionals
Actress Deidre Hall Will Share Family's Experience
NEW YORK, NY— At this point in her 62-year-old life, Phyllis Trapanese of Rye, NY thought she would be traversing the world with her husband, James, seeing all the places he had promised to show her from his days in the Navy.
Instead, Trapanese's only travels nowadays are the ten minute daily drives to visit her husband in the dementia unit of the Sarah Neuman Center for Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Mamaroneck.
“He had worked hard all his life and we put off everything for later on. This is supposed to be the best time of our lives. Now we should be doing stuff and we can't anymore,” said Trapanese.
Even though Trapanese's 64-year-old husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease more than five years ago, she still cannot discuss their changed lives without crying—and she still has difficulty coping.
As an increasing number of New Yorkers similarly find themselves as caregivers—with approximately 300,000 New Yorkers currently known to have Alzheimer's disease and a projected growth to 500,000 cases by 2010, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) will offer two conferences in New York next month that address the critical need to support both families and professionals dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses.
A one-day conference, called “Concepts in Care,” on September 13 is for family and professional caregivers; the other, “Caring for the Community,” on September 12 and 13 is a groundbreaking conference for executives of Alzheimer's-related agencies throughout the state. Both will be held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams St., Brooklyn.
Each conference will feature actress Deidre Hall, best known for creating the character of Dr. Marlena Evans on “Days of Our Lives,” who will share her family's experience with the brain disorder.
On a medical front, experts will include Eric Pfeiffer, M.D., director of the Suncoast Gerontology Center at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, FL. He will discuss the state of Alzheimer's disease today, including heightened recognition of the benefits of proper diagnosis 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. Caregivers need care too, so that they can continue to provide care to their family member."
For more information or to register, visit www.alzfdn.org or call toll-free 866-AFA-8484.
AFA is offering the paired conferences due to the urgency of this health issue in New York. Two factors are swelling the numbers here: a large proportion of residents 85 or older, and New York City's large Hispanic population, which faces a higher risk of the disease than other ethnic groups
Alzheimer's disease strikes an estimated one in ten aged 65 and older and nearly one in two aged 85 and older.
“Nothing in life prepares families for caring for loved ones with dementia. The role is overwhelming, but knowledge and resources can make an enormous difference,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer.
He added: “As we encourage caregivers to reach out for care, we also have to ensure that agencies are equipped to handle this increasing demand. These grassroots organizations are playing more and more of a vital link to care each day.”
“Concepts in Care,” which will take place from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, will give family and professional caregivers greater understanding of the brain disorder and hands-on tools that address medical, behavioral and practical care issues, such as activities of daily living and safe-proofing one's home.
The registration fee, which includes breakfast, lunch and program materials, is $30 in advance or $35 at the door for family caregivers, and $70 in advance or $85 at the door for professionals. To help family members attend, AFA is offering free on-site respite care for individuals with dementia.
AFA is piggybacking this meeting with a unique training conference—“Caring for the Community”—for executives of New York-based, Alzheimer's-related organizations. Prominent experts will guide officials on two major fronts: how to enhance their services based on the latest understanding of the disease and appropriate treatment options; and how to boost their organization's capacity to meet the needs of the community, including multi-ethnic groups.
“Caring for the Community” is being presented with an unrestricted educational grant from Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The New York-based 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. For more information, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org .
Contact: Carol Steinberg