Alzheimer's Association hosts event at Pine Room

From Staff Reports

The Northeast Tennessee-Southwest Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will be holding an Alzheimer's disease and related dementia awareness and education event on Friday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Pine Room at Franklin Health and Fitness Center.
   According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a degenerative disease that attacks the brain, which begins gradually and progressively speeds up at an alarming rate. Symptoms include memory loss, impaired thinking and behavior. Eventually, patients with AD can no longer take care of themselves, requiring a caregiver. It's proven, with the help of standardized diagnostic criteria, physicians can diagnose AD with approximately 85 to 90 percent once symptoms occur.
   Memory loss doesn't necessarily mean Alzheimer's disease. It can be another related dementia, which is a loss in mental function that affects one's everyday life. Dementia itself is a wide range of symptoms that accompanies certain diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, Multi-infarct, Huntington's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Pick's disease, and Lewy body dementia.
   The association's goal for the event is to raise awareness of Alzheimer's and other closely related dementias. The association will be offering a care consultation for those who are experiencing the disease within their family. Families will be encouraged to ask questions regarding issues they are facing.
   The association will be offering a free memory screen. The memory screen will be used as a "tool" for primary caregivers. Patients will be able to use the screen as a baseline for future reference and possible early treatment of dementia-related illnesses. The memory screen will be given by a registered nurse. Suggestions will be given to patients who take place in the screening.
   Tracey Kendall, Regional Director of the association said, "We want to educate the public." The group also hopes to gain interest in support groups for caregivers. Through education patients with early symptoms can begin medication and get the help they need before the "crisis" occurs.
   The Alzheimer's Association is the largest private funding of Alzheimers in the world. They formed locally in 1986 in Sullivan County. Today, the local chapter covers seven counties stretching from Johnson to Hawkins counties in Tennessee, and three counties in Southwest Virginia. Within those counties approximately 10,000 people have Alzheimer's or other memory-related dementias.