Alzheimer’s conference explores power of music

Hope continues to grow for successful medical treatments for Alzheimer’s. In the meantime people around the world are finding immense success with the therapeutic power of music for individuals dealing with the disease.

The annual Pierce County Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference offers caregivers and families a supportive forum of information about services, supports and resources to help sustain people dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The conference will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1315 N. Stevens in Tacoma. Continental breakfast will be provided, as well as a complimentary lunch. The event is free. RSVP is required by registering online at www.PierceCountyWA.org/Alz or calling (253) 798-8787.

The keynote session at the 2015 Conference will feature selections of the stirring documentary film, “Alive Inside.” Commentary will be provided by Megumi Azekawa, a certified music therapist from Tacoma. The film provides a thought-provoking exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken the soul and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. The film won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

In addition to the keynote session focusing on the power of music, breakout sessions will be provided on legal issues, managing difficult behaviors, Veterans benefits, Medicaid, estate planning, medication management and more. A variety of local service providers will also be available to help people become familiar with available resources in Pierce County including in-home supports, long term care facilities, support groups, respite providers and other services.

Alzheimer’s kills more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.  It is one of the most known diseases worldwide but it is also one of the least understood. Medications are available which delay symptoms but as yet there is no cure or prevention. Increasingly, women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s epidemic.

“Families and caregivers helping individuals with Alzheimer’s are at the forefront of the battle,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, Manager of Pierce County Aging & Disability Resources. “It’s often a thankless task. No matter how strong an individual caregiver may be, they need special help and support to maintain their own health and continue providing care for their loved one.”

The Pierce County Alzheimer’s Caregiver Conference is sponsored by the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County and the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center. For more information contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600 or (800) 562-0332.

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