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Alzheimer's Foundation of America to Host San Diego Conference for Family Caregivers, Professionals

NEW YORK, NY — Six years ago, Sandra Valdez and her husband, Antonio, of Chula Vista, CA, were devastated when they received the news: Antonio's mother, then 67, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

“What hit my family the hardest after the diagnosis was not knowing what was going to happen, what to expect. The unknown was our greatest fear,” Sandra Valdez said.

Since, her mother-in-law also has been diagnosed with Parkinson disease, and she can no longer communicate.

Many Californians have the same experience: suddenly and irrevocably, they are faced with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or a related illness.

With the incidence of the disease escalating, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) will hold an educational conference for family caregivers and healthcare professionals, called “Concepts in Care,” on June 26 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina in San Diego.

Presenters include 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.

In addition, Dr. Richard Powers, chief of the Bureau of Geriatric Psychiatry at the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, will address the latest medical breakthroughs and treatments.

AFA targeted California because the state is expected to experience a 50 percent increase in the number of individuals with Alzheimer's disease between 2000 and 2025. Contributing to this is the projected explosion in residents aged 60 and older; age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

“With so many families already affected by this disease and so many families that will face it in the future, it's essential that they have the knowledge and basic skills to provide the highest quality of care to loved ones,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer.

Concepts in Care will provide attendees with better understanding of the disease and hands-on tools to address practical and behavioral issues. Topics include improving communication with individuals with dementia, coping with intergenerational issues, hospice care, dealing with natural disasters and other emergencies, and recreational therapies to exercise the brain.

To help family members attend, AFA will provide free on-site respite care for individuals with dementia. Nurses and social workers can obtain continuing education credits.

Walk-in registration fees are $35 for family caregivers and $85 for professionals. For more information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit

The conference is being presented with an unrestricted educational grant from Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The New York-based Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national, non-profit organization that focuses on care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families. Its services include a toll-free hotline, counseling, educational materials, and a free caregiver magazine. For more information, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit

Contact: Carol Steinberg
Phone: 866-AFA-8484


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