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Advances highlighted at local symposium on Alzheimer’s Disease

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image Community Foundation of Greater Sun City Center

A day-long symposium focused on multiple aspects of Alzheimer's is scheduled for Wednesday, February 29

By MELODY JAMESON

SUN CITY CENTER – As devastating as a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease might be, astounding advances in its treatment are being made.

This is the hopeful message of a day-long symposium focused on multiple aspects of the subject and scheduled for Wednesday, February 29 here. There is no charge for participation.

Conducted every other year since 2000 by the Samaritans’ Alzheimer’s Auxiliary of Sun City Center, the multi-faceted event will take place from 9:30 AM until 3:30 PM in Community Hall on South Pebble Beach Boulevard, according to Dolores Berens, auxiliary president.

A series of speakers, experts in their fields, are slated to address a range of topics pertinent to caregivers and their patients, Berens said.

For example, David Morgan, PhD, chief executive of the University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, is to speak during the morning schedule about new research being conducted and its results, including the PET scan that now can detect very early signs and signals, she added.

Also on the morning program is Amanda Smith, M.D., the USF institute’s medical director and specialist in gerontology or the medical care of aging patients. She is expected to discuss patient care within the context of Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment.

Eileen Poiley, MS, is director of education at the USF institute and is expected to address the various problems that arise for caregivers of Alzheimer patients and the potential means of managing them.

The program subject matter changes when Sean W. Scott, Esq., with a practice in elder law, takes the podium to outline the concerns for caregivers from the financial perspective. Scott, who maintains offices in SCC and in Largo, Central Pinellas County, is to suggest the preparations that caregivers should consider if taking control of the family’s financial management as well as the issues to be managed over a span of years.

Medications, their functions, their effectiveness and their potential interactions, will be the subject for Haril Patel, RPH, a pharmacist associated with Sunrise Pharmacy in SCC.

Patricia Suarez , who is vice president for development at the West Central Florida Area Agency on Aging, will serve as moderator throughout the program and is to talk about the various existing agencies that offer help to an aging population as well as the types of assistance available.

Those attending the day-long event will be provided breakfast beginning at 9 AM as well a lunch during the noon hour plus an afternoon snack. In addition, day care for Alzheimer patients accompanying their caregivers will be provided by trained nursing personnel in a separate area of the community hall facility while caregivers participate in the forums, Berens said.

The event is underwritten by a grant from the George A. Lutz Fund in the Community Foundation of Sun City Center.

In addition to presenting the periodic update of advances in the field, the auxiliary offers those caring for Alzheimer’s patients a choice of 50 free hours of in-home care or 50 free hours at an adult day care center or seven days in one of the several assisted living facilities in and around Sun City Center in order to provide respite for caregivers burdened with around-the-clock vigilance or to assist at a time of family emergency. The costs involved are covered by various fund-raising activities the auxiliary undertakes.

In past years, the Alzheimer’s Disease updates on medical, research and social aspects has drawn attendance in the hundreds, Berens said. And while there are no charges whatsoever, reservations are imperative, she emphasized. A reservation can be made by contacting Berens at 813-634-1418 or through the Samaritan’s office, 813-634-9283.

Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson

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