Back to the Future was a 1985 movie that had a young Michael J. Fox time-traveling back to his parents’ high school years to sample life in the 1950s in small-town USA before projecting ahead to the 21st century.
The Fifth Annual Caregivers Conference at St. Petersburg College will have a back-to-the-future feel as it shows how dementia-sufferers can benefit from re-experiencing 1950s small-town America and how their caregivers can benefit from 21st century technology. Preparing Caregivers for the Future is the theme of the conference, which will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Digitorium at SPC’s Seminole campus, 9200 113th N. The conference is hosted by the SPC Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and co-sponsored by Maria’s Adult Day Care Center and AARP Florida. Admission is free, including lunch, but advance registration is required at http://solutions.spcollege.edu/.
The conference will feature a presentation on one of the latest concepts in dementia caregiving: Reminiscence Therapy. Scott J. Tarde, CEO of George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers Inc., will talk about Glenner Town Square, a day-care center for dementia patients in Chula Vista, Calif. The center resembles a village square from the 1950s, with 14 storefronts, erected inside an industrial building, designed to capture the years from 1953 to 1961. That’s when the average dementia patient was between ages 10 and 30. The concept is to take the patients back to a time when their strongest memories were formed. Returning to those years helps dementia patients feel better in the moment, easing agitation and confusion – and importantly – making life easier for their caregivers.
Another featured speaker will be Monica Stynchula, AARP Florida Executive Council member and Chair of the Caregiver Accelerator. She will update attendees on new technology, products and services related to dementia care, including “telehealth,” an electronic information and telecommunications platform to access health care services remotely.
Also featured will be Dr. Cate McCarty, dementia coach and specialist in aging studies, whose topic is, “Spouse Like Me: When the Teacher becomes the Student.” As Dr. Cate, Dementia Coach, she trains, speaks and writes about quality of life with a dementia diagnosis.
A popular speaker back for the fifth straight year will be Eileen Poiley, Director of Education at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute at the University of South Florida. She will speak on “Safety Concerns and Ways to Prevent Potential Problems.”
Other speakers and their topics:
- Celisa K. Bonner, Clinic Coordinator for the Madonna Ptak Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Loss at Morton Plant Mease, who will present information about the Silver Alert system.
- D. “Rep” DeLoach III, estate planning, elder law and probate attorney at DeLoach & Hofstra, Seminole, whose topic is “What’s in your Future Legal Tool Box?”
- Tam Cummings, gerontologist and author, “How to Communicate with Dementia Patients.”
During breaks in the conference, attendees will be able to visit informational tables of vendors offering services for family caregivers, volunteers working with older adults, and professionals in aging and related services.
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is one of the world’s biggest global public health challenges. Worldwide, at least 44 million people are living with dementia, and that number is expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050 to 115 million. Much of the increase will be in developing countries like Western Europe and North America. Already 62 percent of people with dementia live in developing countries. There is no treatment available to slow or stop the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, but several medications can temporarily help improve the symptoms of dementia for some people.
Header photo from compassionstl.com