Annual Conference for People With Dementia and Their Caregivers Set for March 1

 The annual “Meeting of the Minds Dementia Conference” will be held March 1, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Saint Paul River Center to inform and support people with dementia along with their family and friends and professional caregivers.

Ecumen’s Maria Reyes, a quality improvement nurse who champions the Ecumen Awakenings™ program, will be on a panel discussing how reducing the use of antipsychotic medications in long-term care improves lives.  Ecumen Awakenings is a pioneering approach to dementia care that emphasizes honoring the individual, using non-pharmacological and biomedical techniques, and establishing collaborative care that involves patients, physicians, care professionals, pharmacists and loved ones.

The Meeting of the Minds is organized by the Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter and the Mayo Clinic.  Every year more than a 1,000 participants come together to hear national, regional and local presenters provide education and information on Alzheimer’s and other dementias, including strategies for caregiving, legal and financial planning, and cutting-edge research.

People with mild cognitive impairment or early dementia are encouraged to attend the conference, along with care partners, family and friends.  Recognized experts will conduct breakout sessions on a wide range of topics and exhibitors will provide information on dementia-related products and services.

For registration details and fees and full information on the conference and session topics, go to the Alzheimer’s Association’s conference website.

In addition to the almost 30 breakout sessions, the following presenters will be keynote speakers:

  • Alexander "Sandy" Halperin, DDS, was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's at age 60. He was relieved to have validation for the cognitive problems that were affecting his professional and personal life. Dr. Halperin has chosen to not allow the disease to define him.  He advocates that dignity, respect and inclusion are gifts worthy to each person, with or without a diagnosis.
  • Bruce L. Miller, M.D., is a professor of neurology at the University of California-San Francisco and directs the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC). He has a special interest in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and has discovered a subset of patients in whom visual or musical creativity emerges despite the progression of language and social impairment. In other words, when one part of the brain is compromised it may be possible for another part to become stronger.
  • Henry Emmons, M.D., is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body practices and compassion into his clinical work. His teachings and programs combine movement, nutrition, natural therapies and mindfulness to help restore resilience and rediscover joy.

Ecumen, which has 25 memory care communities in five states, is a sponsor of the Meeting of Minds Conference.  We invite you to stop by our booth.