SUN CITY CENTER – For the eighth year, a Sun City Center nonprofit group is offering caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients the opportunity to obtain the latest research, directly from the experts.
The Samaritans Alzheimer’s Auxiliary of Sun City Center invites caregivers to attend its free Alzheimer’s Educational Seminar on March 4, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Community Hall, 1910 Pebble Beach Blvd. S.
The seminar will feature speakers from the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute at the University of South Florida.
“We’ll have seven speakers, including an elder law lawyer and caregiver educators so caregivers can gather all the latest information coming down the pike from USF researchers,” said Dolores Berens, president and founder of the auxiliary.
Speakers will include moderator Patricia Suarez; David Morgan, Ph.D.; Dr. Amanda Smith; pharmacist Angela Hill, elder law attorney Amanda Wolf; and caregiver educators Eileen Poiley and Jill Smith.
Professionals will be on hand to care for patients during the seminar, which also will include a complimentary breakfast and lunch provided through a grant from the South Shore Council’s Julius and Emily Wolff Fund.
With more than 5.2 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in 2013, Berens said it’s more critical than ever for caregivers to receive support from organizations like the auxiliary, which Berens started in the late 1970s after serving as director of the governing board of the Tampa Alzheimer’s Association.
“We have so many elderly patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia right here in Sun City Center,” Berens said. “I wanted to raise money that would stay in Sun City Center and help the patients here.”
Understanding the all-consuming demands placed on caregivers, the auxiliary began offering respite care in 1998. With money raised through its annual fundraisers, the auxiliary provides caregivers the choice of receiving 50 hours of in-home care, 50 hours at a daycare facility or a seven-day stay at an assisted living facility in Sun City Center each year for those they care for.
To better inform caregivers, the auxiliary also began hosting its free educational seminars in 2000. It now sponsors a seminar every two years, Berens said.
“The seminars provide information on research, treatments and social aspects of the disease,” she said.
Reservations for both the seminar and adult day care during the seminar are required by Feb. 24 by calling Berens at (813) 634-1418 or the Samaritans Alzheimer’s Auxiliary office at (813) 634-9283. Caregivers also can register in person at the office, 916 N. Pebble Beach Blvd., Sun City Center.
D’Ann Lawrence White is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]