As the population in the United States ages, the number of individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has skyrocketed. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2016 facts, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. And by mid-century, someone in the United States will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
The treatment and care of people with dementia and other memory loss have profound economic costs as well. An estimated $236 billion in payments for health care, long-term care and hospice connected to Alzheimer’s and dementia related diseases were made in 2016.
The economic losses go beyond professional healthcare and reach into families’ and other caregivers’ pocketbooks. In 2015, caregivers provided 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care to people with dementia and other mental loss with an estimated value of $221.3 billion. In addition, 40 percent of caregivers suffer from depression and rate their stress levels as high to very high.
Xavier University and ERS Parish Health Ministry are collaborating to offer a two-day conference devoted to dementia care. The conference will offer the latest information and a wealth of support for family caregivers, healthcare professionals, and anyone whose lives are affected by people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
New venue, new partners
Refresh Your Soul has grown each year since its start in 2006 and has featured national speakers such as Patch Adams, Mitch Albom, Eben Alexander and Lisa Genova. This year, the conference moves to Xavier University’s Cintas Center. And it will grow from a single-day event to become part of a two-day conference, taking place Monday, March 13 and Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
“We have sold out our venue a number of times in the past five years and therefore moved the venue to accommodate more people,” said Parish Health Ministry Director Jeanne Palcic. “The interest increased dramatically when we changed our focus to dementia care last year and sold out again with approximately 820 people.”
Refresh Your Soul 2017 will be paired with Xavier University’s first-ever Dementia Care Summit. Rather than a unified conference, the event will consist of two discrete days of programming for family caregivers, professional health care providers and community leaders, Palcic said.
Day one, Refresh Your Soul, will give attendees an opportunity to learn from experts how to overcome the struggles related to caring for people living with dementia and find ways to live inspired. This year’s RYS theme will be “Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Overcoming the Struggles & Living Inspired.”
“The goal is to help people walk away with new, practical information and refreshed for more caregiving,” Palcic said.
The second day, Xavier Dementia Care Summit, will focus more on bringing care partners and professionals together to spark dialogue around important issues for individuals living with dementia.
“As a teaching institution, we feel our primary role is to educate future health care providers on empirically based best practices,” said Dr. Paul Gore, Dean of Xavier’s College of Professional Sciences.
While the main purpose of each conference day is a bit different, Palcic said, organizers of both days hope to:
- inspire professional and family caregivers with renewed energy for caregiving;
- equip them with skills to improve quality of life;
- raise awareness of the growing need for skilled and innovative care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia;
- support families and the community in planning for the future.
Cincinnati’s TriHealth hospital system graciously agreed to become the Title sponsor for both conferences, and the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will serve as the presenting sponsor of Refresh Your Soul.
During Refresh Your Soul on Day 1, the keynote speaker will be national best-selling author John O’Leary, whose memoir, On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life, chronicles his healing journey from being a 9-year-old severe burn survivor to a happily married, 38-year-old father of four.
Loretta Anne Woodward Veney — a well-known author and founder of Superior Training Solutions, LLC — will speak openly about her own caregiving experiences. Her 2013 book, Being My Mom’s Mom: A Journey through Dementia from a Daughter’s Perspective, has been positively featured in the national press.
Rounding out the lineup on Day 1 will be Teepa Snow, one of America’s leading educators on dementia and developer of Positive Approach™ to Care techniques that are now used by caregiving families all over the world.
Snow is no stranger to past Refresh Your Soul attendees. A perennial audience favorite, her presentation at last year’s conference was very well-received. She has also been a regular presenter at Xavier University.
“We’ve been offering programming to local memory care providers for many years in concert with an annual student-focused event featuring Teepa Snow,” Gore explained. That event, he said, was designed to help students from various departments learn about the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in memory care.
“Last year we resolved to expand our programming to invite the larger community and focus on other aspects of memory care and to introduce other innovations in memory care,” Gore said, specifically noting the burgeoning use of Montessori educational methodology in treating dementia. “The result is the Dementia Care Summit.”
Register early and save on admission
Registration for both conferences is now open. Tickets are sold separately for each day. For more information or to register, visit the Refresh Your Soul information page to purchase your tickets. Refresh Your Soul offers an early bird discount through Feb. 22. For information or to register for the Xavier University Dementia Care Summit, visit the Xavier information page.
Contact hours are available for many disciplines at both days, including nursing, social work and occupational therapy. In addition, Refresh Your Soul has contact hours for nursing home administrators and physical therapists. If you’re a healthcare professional or family caregiver for someone living with dementia, we hope that you’ll consider joining us for this uplifting and informative event.
This spring, don’t succumb to caregiver fatigue. Come Refresh Your Soul with us!