Alzheimer’s Association to host ‘Connections in Caring’ conference April 19 in Rockford

Full-day education program for everyone who supports someone with memory loss

The Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Illinois Chapter is hosting “Connections in Caring,” a full-day conference on Thurs., April 19, for family and professional caregivers, family members, clergy, friends and neighbors supporting someone with memory loss.

The conference will at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Rd., Rockford, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Participants can select two of the following four presentations during the morning sessions:

1. Pain Management and Dementia, by Leslie Aalund, R.N., pain management coordinator, SwedishAmerican Hospital

2. After the Diagnosis: What to do After Receiving a Dementia Diagnosis, by Bonnie Beam-Stratz, M.A., M.S., L.C.P.C., research and education director, Family Alliance, Inc.

3. Pushing Buttons and Tripping Triggers: Effects of Early Life Trauma in Persons with Dementia, by Carla Culbertson, B.S., F.D.S., Alzheimer’s Association Greater Illinois Chapter

4. Walking in Their Shoes: Understanding a Person With Dementia, by Deb Greiner, A.D.C., A.U.D.C.

William Thies, Ph.D., vice president and medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association, will give the keynote luncheon address on Advances in Dementia Research. Dr. Thies will discuss the medications currently approved for Alzheimer’s disease and their limitations, and will set the stage for new medications to come. He also will review the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s as a foundation for approaches to treating this disease in the future.

The afternoon programming includes a plenary session and two breakout sessions. The plenary on “The Best Friends™ Approach to Dementia Care” will be given David Troxel, M.P.H., writer, educator and co-founder of the approach. He will discuss the history of Alzheimer’s disease, the development of person-centered care, and the Best Friends™ Approach that embodies the philosophy of person-centered care and focuses on the concepts of friendship, respect, empathy, support, compassion and humor in providing care for people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Participants will select one of these break-out sessions:

1. The Changing Face of Intimacy in Alzheimer’s Disease, by Daniel Kuhn, M.S.W., Alzheimer’s Association Greater Illinois Chapter

2. Creative Activities: Designing Exciting, Ingenious and Unforgettable Programs, by Kevin Kavanaugh, M.A., and Paula Tagliere, A.D.C.

In addition, Alzheimer’s Association staff will be available to meet individually with conference participants during the day.

Register online at or call (815) 484-1300. For family caregivers, the fee is $30 for the first person and $20 for each additional family member. For attendees needing continuing education units, the fee is $45 per person. For attendees not needing CEUs, the fee is $30 per person.

Registration includes program materials, access to the Resource and Book Fairs, lunch and refreshments. Registration is open through April 13.

“The program is an excellent opportunity for families and professionals alike to learn about Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, and better care in a very practical manner,” said Melody Pearson, program manager of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Participants can also network and learn from each other on how to improve the quality of life for those with memory loss.”

Alzheimer’s (AHLZ-high-merz) is a progressive disease that destroys brain cells and gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, including 210,000 Illinoisans. The Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Illinois Chapter serves 68 counties in Illinois with offices in Bloomington, Carterville, Chicago, Joliet, Rockford, Skokie and Springfield. For more information, visit or call the chapter’s 24-hour Helpline at (800) 272-3900.

from the April 4-10, 2007, issue

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