FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | April 9, 2007
Alzheimer's Foundation of America to Host Educational Conference and Display Dementia-Related Quilt in Cincinnati
NEW YORK, NY—Looking back, June Ellifritt of Chillicothe, OH is convinced there was a reason she had surgery seven years ago to replace both shoulders and both knees.
“The Lord knew I had a job down the road,” said the 74-year-old Ellifritt.
The job: her husband, Ira, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease one year later, and Ellifritt has been his full-time caregiver ever since. Her new body parts have come in handy to help lift her husband out of chairs and break his falls as his physical condition and mental health have been declining.
Ellifritt and others agree that caregiving requires emotional and physical strength—and a lot of education.
On May 5, family caregivers and healthcare professionals will have the opportunity to learn more about Alzheimer's disease and related dementias at an all-day conference at The Westin Cincinnati sponsored by the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA).
The conference, called Concepts in Care, offers free respite care for individuals with dementia to ease attendance by family caregivers, and provides continuing education units for nurses, social workers, and activity and recreation therapists. More details are available at www.alzfdn.org or by calling 866-AFA-8484.
Pierre Tariot, M.D., associate director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, will provide an update on the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Other speakers will address sexual aggression, elder abuse, intergenerational issues and creative arts therapies, as well as practical, hands-on tips for bathing and other activities of daily living, and using laughter and other positive communication techniques.
Conference attendees will also be able to preview 18 panels from the AFA Quilt to Remember, the nation's first, grand-scale dementia-related quilt. Consisting of large panels crafted by individuals and organizations across America, the AFA Quilt to Remember pays tribute to those who had or have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, their caregivers or healthcare professionals.
Among those on display will be a pastel-colored, checkered quilt made by Anna Thomas of Clarington, OH in memory of her mother, Virginia Nice.
“It is such a loving tribute to honor a woman who was taken in such a horrible way,” Thomas said.
AFA is displaying portions of the quilt at selected events such as the Concepts in Care conference, in addition to much larger exhibits during a national tour. This spring, major displays will take place in Chicago on May 11 to 13 and in Dallas on May 26 to 28. For more information about the AFA Quilt to Remember, visit www.alzquilt.org .
“Education and awareness-raising are critical in dealing with the escalating incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers who are in the throes of it right now need the proper tools to cope with day-to-day challenges. At the same time, it's important to let others see the real lives affected by this heartbreaking disease through a powerful project such as the AFA Quilt to Remember,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer.
Currently, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, including one in ten aged 65 and older and nearly one in two aged 85 and older, and the incidence will triple by mid-century.
In Ohio, an estimated 200,000 residents have Alzheimer's disease, and this number is expected to increase by 25 percent to 250,000 by 2025. With an estimated one to four caregivers for each individual with the disease, up to an additional one million Ohioans are affected by this disease.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York and made up of hundreds of member organizations that provide hands-on programs to meet the educational, emotional, practical and social needs of families affected by Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses. AFA's services include a toll-free helpline, counseling, educational materials, a free caregiver magazine, and professional training. For information, call (Toll-Free Helpline) 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org .
Note: Photos of the AFA Quilt to Remember are available upon request.
Contact: Carol Steinberg