Local Alzheimer’s group holds caregiver conference

JACKSON, Tenn. — Local caregivers learn how to care for their patients and loved ones who are suffering from a condition that unfortunately affects more and more of our population.

“This conference will allow people the opportunity of getting some hands-on experience, some things that they can take home this very day and use in taking care of their loved one,” said Regina Smith, senior services manager for West Tennessee Healthcare.

The Alzheimer’s Community of West Tennessee hosted their annual conference Wednesday. Organizers say they hope the conference helps bring awareness to the disease and help caregivers.

“The prevalence of Alzheimer’s, the numbers are incredible, and it’s something that’s growing and projected to grow over the next several years. So it’s something we unfortunately have to prepare for,” said David Alred, the primary care director for West Tennessee Neuroscience and Spinal Center.

Keynote speaker Teepa Snow, who works with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, says the first thing caregivers need to remember is to take care of themselves first.

“If you need something, get your needs met before you try to meet someone else’s needs, because if you’re needy, then you can’t really do a good job of taking care of someone else in need,” Snow said.

Then find out your own strengths and weaknesses as a caregiver, and ask for help if you need it.

“Look at what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, and start looking around for who else could help you when you have something to do that you’re not good at,” Snow said.

Nursing students from across West Tennessee attended the conference, hoping to learn more before they enter the health care field.

“I think we get to learn from people who are actually seeing this one-on-one, front line, and it’s emerging information,” Ashley Kee, a University of Memphis Lambuth nursing student, said.

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