Saturday is World Alzheimer's Action Day. In Utah, caregivers will hear from experts at a free Memory Loss Awareness Conference and town hall meeting in St. George. They'll discuss research and therapy techniques for people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
At the University of Utah's Center for Alzheimer's Care, Dr. Dustin Hammers says they're participating in drug trials and doing research with people at different stages of memory loss. He says one key to coping with Alzheimer's is encouraging families to not ignore the signs and symptoms.
"Alzheimer's disease and dementia are medical illnesses and it's important that as a community we break through the stigma that exists about people being diagnosed."
Dr. Hammers is the conference's keynote speaker. Co-sponsors AARP Utah and the Alzheimer's Association say they'll share what they learn from caregivers at the vent with Utah's Congressional delegation. They hope it prompts more federal support for research and for families coping with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Conference participants will learn how to distinguish normal forgetfulness from more serious conditions. Dr. Hammers says the best medical advice for preventing memory loss is the same as for maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall.
"Physical activity; cognitive or thinking engagement; stimulation; social stimulation; an appropriate diet -- some of the critical pieces in terms of prevention at the current time, are very easy to do and very inexpensive to do."
In addition to the conference, Walks to End Alzheimer's in Utah are scheduled for September 22 in Logan and September 29 in Provo.