Alzheimer's blog

Conference highlights those with dementia, caregiving and research

By Angela Lunde February 5, 2013

In about 3 weeks, more than 1,000 people will gather in St. Paul for the 2013 Meeting of the Minds Dementia Conference. You're invited.

This premier conference is the result of hard work and dedication, driven by genuine passion on the part of the Minnesota-North Dakota Alzheimer's Association and Mayo Clinic staff and volunteers.

This year's conference will include some impressive experts in the research field including Dr. Eric Reiman of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, and our own Dr. Ronald Petersen, Dr. Brad Boeve, and Glenn Smith, Ph.D, from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

But this conference is not just about the hope of one day curing or preventing Alzheimer's, it's about improving the quality of life in the present. When Pat Summit, the winningest college basketball coach of all time who's now living with younger onset Alzheimer's, takes the stage she's sure to have a message of "living big."

It's my hope that this conference continues to shift our perceptions about dementia — affirming the personhood and dignity of those living with dementia and reducing the stigma that often isolates and dismisses.

Practical strategies, useful knowledge, resources and services to reaffirm that there's help will be shared with caregivers.

CaringSource is one example of that help — a new individualized service developed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and national experts in dementia. CaringSource is about positively influencing the health, well-being and quality of life for caregivers. If you're at the conference, I invite you to stop by the Mayo Clinic booth to learn more.

For me, however, the real megastars will be those living with the disease who courageously attend and unknowingly teach us all something. By learning how to engage fully in the presence of a person living with dementia you'll see their capacity for wisdom, insight and compassion.

By attending sessions where persons living with dementia are presenting or involved, you'll learn that dementia doesn't define them, it simply shapes the way they experience the world around them.

A day to learn. An experience to feel.

See you on March 2. Early bird registration ends February 7.

To register for the conference, go to the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter page of the Alzheimer's Association website.

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Feb. 05, 2013