News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters lands Alzheimer's conference

Sisters will take on the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease in a conference in May.

A McGinty Conference — usually hosted in much larger communities — will be held at Sisters Community Church on Monday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The events, including the principal one in Portland, are Oregon’s leading research and education events highlighting Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and honors Dr. Dean McGinty, a Portland geriatrician, an early advocate for those living with dementia, and a pioneer in the Alzheimer’s family-support movement.

Since Dr. McGinty’s death in 1995, the Alzheimer’s Association Oregon Chapter has convened experts at the McGinty Conference to lead interactive sessions that focus on the many issues related to Alzheimer’s.

The McGinty Conference is geared toward individuals personally and/or professionally affected by the devastating disease.

Debbi McCune, a Sisters Realtor whose husband has Alzheimer’s, explained that conferences like the Sisters event, are considered mini-conferences — but only due to the size of the audiences and not the content. McCune is part of the leadership team of Living Well With Dementia Sisters.

“There are no hard numbers of how many in Sisters are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” McCune said. “Using national averages and numbers from Bend, we think there are a minimum of 100 and as many as 150. Add to that the care partners and the impact of the disease at least doubles.”

That would suggest around 10 percent of Sisters’ population is dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s on some direct or indirect level.

“37.5 percent of the population in Sisters is over 65, double that of Bend.”

Columbia University researchers have found almost 10% of U.S. adults 65 and older have dementia, another 22 percent have mild cognitive impairment. People with dementia and mild cognitive impairment are more likely to be older, have lower levels of education, and to be racialized as Black or Hispanic. Men and women have similar rates of dementia and mild cognitive impairment.

Nearly 7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million. Alzheimer’s disease was the fifth-leading cause of death among people 65 and older in 2021. Health and long-term care costs for people with dementia are projected to reach $360 billion in 2024, nearly $1 trillion in 2050.

McCune’s team is purposely limiting attendance to 75 so that it can be held in the church’s fireside room with round tables versus theater style that could triple the numbers. “We want this to be intimate and conversational with in-depth sharing,” McCune said.

Lunch will be provided and sessions will include: Latest in Alzheimer’s & Dementia Research with a keynote presentation by Dr. Greg Ferenz, an expert in neurological care at Pacific Crest Neurology.

Additional sessions are: 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s & Dementia; Healthy Living for Your Brain & Body. Community resource panel discussion topics are: advanced & dementia directives; a care partners dementia path; compassionate end of life, and nutrition for a healthy life.

Call 800-272-3900 to register.


Reader Comments(0)