The Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes region recently hosted its annual Meeting of the Minds, with more than 240 community members and health care professionals in attendance at Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester and more than 40 people watching it live at the Hilton Garden Inn in Corning.
“It’s great to be here, at the Meeting of the Minds,” said David Gill, neurologist and director of the Memory Center at Unity/Rochester Regional Health. “We have a great turnout, a combination of people with dementia, their caregivers and providers all coming together to talk about how best to take care of individuals with the disease and support family caregivers.”
Keynote speaker Elizabeth Guerrero-Berroa, assistant professor at Lehman College, CUNY, shared the findings of three research studies she conducted on neuropsychological, clinical and biological risk factors for age-related cognitive decline in elderly minority populations.
She also addressed the results of the Sprint Mind study. Presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in 2018, the clinical trial demonstrated that intensive intervention to reduce blood pressure reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment, and the combined risk of MCI and dementia.
Finally, Guerrero-Berroa talked about the U.S. Pointer study. Led by the Alzheimer’s Association, the study is a two-year clinical trial to evaluate whether lifestyle interventions can protect cognitive function in older adults at increased risk for cognitive decline. U.S. Pointer is the first such study to be conducted in a large group of Americans across the U.S. The study is recruiting participants.
Meg Boyce, vice president of programs and services at the Alzheimer’s Association, Hudson Valley chapter, shared environmental safety strategies that families affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia can implement in their homes.
Carol Podgorski, associate professor at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, talked about communication techniques that family caregivers can adopt to effectively interact with their loved ones who live with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
Teresa Galbier, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes region, presented the Kathleen Powers Award for excellence to Pat Thompson, a volunteer caregiver at Lifetime Home Health Care and Hospice who provides services to individuals with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
Kathleen Powers was the founding chair of the nursing department at St. John Fisher College. After retiring from her academic career, Powers joined the Alzheimer’s Association to develop its educational programs, including the train-the-trainer curriculum.
“In 2008, the Association established an award to honor Powers’ contribution to the nursing profession and honor professional caregivers — from companions to volunteers to licensed practical nurses — who work directly with people living with dementia,” Galbier said.
Rose Fletcher, of Lifetime Home Health Care and Hospice, said, “Pat Thompson has been providing comfort and support to terminally ill individuals with dementia and their families since 1986. Over the last 33 years, Pat has walked beside hundreds of people during their end-of-life care. We have received countless letters and kind words from family members and hospice staff about Pat. Her knowledge of dementia has been such an asset to our agency. She defines what it means to be an outstanding volunteer.”