Alzheimer’s Symposium held at BridgePort

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Two of the most dreaded and at the same time misunderstood words in the realm of health are “Alzheimer’s” and “Dementia.” On Thursday, a panel was to come together at BridgePort Healthcare Center for an Alzheimer’s and Dementia Symposium.

“It’s a panel from here locally,” Hugh Brisker, director of public relations, BridgePort Healthcare Center, said.

Panelists will include: Dr. Jeffry Hill, DO, Medical Director for BridgePort and Southern Ohio Medical Center, Dr. Marsha Smith, MD with Southern Ohio Medical Center Neurology Associates, Melissa Dever, BSW, LSW, Branch Program Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association in Southeastern Ohio, and Ann Evans, MSN, RN, Program Director for the Southern Ohio Medical Center Senior Behavior Unit.

Teresa Bryan, MSW, LISW-S, Director of Social Work/Patient Relations/UR for Southern Ohio Medical Center is the moderator.

“She is going to be asking them some questions for the audience about Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” Brisker said. “What it is. Are there any treatments available, any medications that are out there right now, some research that is being done to cure Alzheimer’s and Dementia. After we’re finished, we’re going to open it up for the audience to answer their own questions.”

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.

Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.

“It’s just a way that we can reach out to the community a little bit and maybe answer questions that they may have with regards to Dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s Dementia,” Hill said. “I think it’s just a matter of questions that a lot of people may have. A lot of people may have family members with Alzheimer’s or some type of Dementia, or they may know someone, so there may be a history of it in the family, so it’s just a time where we can maybe extend to them our experiences with it, things to expect, maybe learn a little bit about the disease.”

The event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks, meet and greet, and tours of the facility to follow the panel discussion.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the national Alzheimer’s Association. Nearly every minute, someone in the United States develops the disease, the association says.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.