Caregiver Conference

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Alzheimer’s in Alabama

Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama Annual Conference

October 18, 2019

Canterbury United Methodist Church

350 Overbrook Road, Birmingham, AL 35213

8:30 – 3:00

Sponsored by Medical Properties Trust

8:30 – 8:45             Welcome and Introduction

8:45 – 9:30            Dementia, Caregiving and Public Policy: What Are Legislators Doing for  You?

Dr. Nicole Ruggiano, Associate Professor of Social Work, University  of Alabama


Over the past decade, concerned for the 5.8 million Americans who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias has grown among legislators in Washington DC and Montgomery. Dr. Nicole Ruggiano is a faculty member in the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama who has spent the past year in Washington DC as an American Political Science Association Health and Aging Policy Fellow, supporting work on this issue in the legislative and executive branches of government. Her research and advocacy efforts focus on educating patients and caregivers about health care, as well as improving health and support services for people with dementia and their families. She also specializes in developing and testing technologies that support caregiving.

In this presentation, Nicole will discuss recent and upcoming policy agendas aimed to support people with dementia and their families. She will offer strategies that every-day caregivers, people living with dementia, and providers can use to make their voices heard in advocating for policies that will benefit all families touched by Alzheimer’s.

9:30 – 10:30             I Am Still ME!

Brian LeBlanc, international Alzheimer’s advocate
Brian LeBlanc’s world as a marketing and public relations executive in Pensacola changed in October of 2014 when he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This past June, he was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Brian realized that we seldom hear the voices of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. He knew he HAD to talk about it. Through speaking out, he has become an international Alzheimer’s advocate, keynote speaker, and Congressional Alzheimer’s Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association. His story provides a rare window into the journey of a “regular guy” from a “regular life” who is living with a progressive, disabling, degenerative brain disease. He speaks from the heart leaving his audience with the truest perspective he can give.

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 – 11:45 Thriving in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s
Jamie Tyrone,  Founder / CEO Beating Alzheimer’s by Embracing Science; Author – Fighting For My Life, How To Thrive In the Shadow of Alzheimer’s

Jamie Tyrone is an author, retired Registered Nurse and hospital marketing executive, and Founder/CEO of B.A.B.E.S. – Beating Alzheimer’s by Embracing Science, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization she created after she learned of her 91 percent lifetime genetic risk of succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. Only two percent of the population has this genetic status which motivated her to become a research volunteer and a dedicated advocate. She is a founding member of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and has been honored with a place on Maria Shriver’s “Big Wall of Empowerment” recognizing architects of change. Jamie’s family history with Alzheimer’s disease is documented in the CNN award-winning film Filling the Blank, produced by Filipe Barrel. Her story was also highlighted in the BBC documentary Curing Alzheimer’s. Her personal experience of living with this genetic status has been a feature story in the New York Times and cover story in the Washington Post. Her book Fighting For My Life—How to Thrive in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s was released by HarperCollins May, 2019.


11:45 – 12:45 Lunch

Feeding on the Joy of Encore, a ministry of Canterbury United Methodist Church:

  • Valerie Boyd, Director of SAGE Ministries
  • Patti Williams, Encore Program Director
  • Kristen Snell, Community and Family Education
  • Encore Chorus

12:45 – 1:30   The Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease: What’s New?
Meagan Cochran, MS, CGC, Certified Genetic Counselor

Meagan Cochran is a board-certified genetic counselor originally from Birmingham, AL. She received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Auburn University and a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Meagan has practiced clinical genetic counseling in a variety of settings including pediatrics, prenatal, adult medicine, and genomics. She currently works at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, AL, where she serves as a clinical genetic counselor for the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine and participates in clinical genomics research in pediatric rare diseases and neurodegeneration.

1:30 – 2:30 Empathy in Dementia Caregiving
Don Wendorf, Psy.D., Psychologist (retired)

Don Wendorf, Psy.D. is a retired psychologist, marriage & family therapist and very active musician, hiker, writer, Alzheimer’s advocate, father and grandpa. He was care partner for his Mom (Alzheimer’s), Pop (Parkinson’s), and late wife (vascular dementia). He wrote Caregiver Carols: a Musical, Emotional Memoir to help caregivers with emotional struggles. He and wife Lynda Everman were Senior Editors of Dementia-Friendly Worship: a Multifaith Handbook for Chaplains, Clergy, and Faith Communities and co-write Stolen Memories: an Alzheimer’s Stole Ministry and Tallit Initiative. Don will blend stories, music and memories to inspire us to respond with empathic thinking to the challenges of dementia.

2:30 – 3 Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama Candle Lighting Service

Passages are read for our love, courage, grief, memories and hope as the flame is passed and candles are lit.

3:00  Adjourn

Presenting Sponsor

Medical Properties Trust

Breakfast Sponsor

Bradford Holliman

Lunch Sponsor

Alabama Cares – M4A

Vendor Sponsors

  • Alabama Family Trust
  • Brookdale University Park
  • CJFS
  • Nurse Next Door
  • Family Private Care
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • Kirkwood by the River
  • Lakeview Estates
  • Lakeside Hospice
  • Princeton Baptist Medical Center
  • Southern Care New Beacon
  • St. Martin’s
  • Viva Health


Continuing Education approved for 6.6 nursing hours and 5.5 hours for social workers. Home Instead is an approved provider of continuing education programs of the Alabama Board of Nursing, ABNP1441 Exp. 8/27/22 and of the Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners, 0431, Exp. 8/31/20

The Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators has reviewed and approved the seminar entitled “Alzheimer’s in Alabama” for 4 hours of continuing education credit for licensed nursing home administrators in the State of Alabama.

The Board of Examiners of Assisted Living Administrators has reviewed and approved the program dated October 18, 2019 entitled, ”Alzheimer’s in Alabama” for a total of 4.45 equivalent hours of continuing education credit for licensed assisted living administrators in the State of Alabama. 4.45 hours may be applied toward the Category II requirement for cognitive impairment/dementia education.

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