A free community forum Saturday offers access to cutting-edge information about Alzheimer's research and the available resources for families dealing with the disease.
"It's really important to get this kind of information because there is a lot going on in the field," said Linda Van Eldik, director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky which is sponsoring the event.
At least 300 people have registered for the forum at the Lexington Convention Center. The forum will present information on clinical medical trails, advancements in treatment and resources for caregivers. The day ends with a question and answer session. Registration is required, but the forum is free.
It is the third year that the community forum has been offered. Alzheimer's is becoming a bigger issue as baby boomers enter their senior years. More and more families are affected by the disease, she said.
At the same time, resources for families are growing, and there is a greater understanding that dementia is a disease that can be treated instead of just a natural progression of getting older.
"There seems to be less of a stigma than there used to be," Van Eldik said. Most people "know someone or has someone in their family that has been affected."
People attending the forum can sign up to learn about clinical trials or make appointments for a memory screening.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but there is a growing understanding of the kinds of things that people can do to keep the brain healthy, and how other health conditions affect brain health.
Van Eldik said it's important for people who don't have the disease to understand the risks and be able to take preventative action.
"There is a lot going on in the field in both testing new medications and understanding much more now in what we can do to reduce our risk in getting dementia."
IF YOU GO:
Markesbery Symposium on Aging and Dementia, Community Alzheimer's Symposium
When: 8:30 to noon, Nov. 16.
Where: Bluegrass Ballroom, Lexington Center, 430 West Vine Street. Free parking in High Street lot.
Contact: Registration required. (859) 323-6040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see full schedule, go to http://bit.ly/1aANit2.
Sponsored by the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.
Free memory screenings: Sanders-Brown and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America offer memory screenings on National Memory Screening Day, Nov. 19. 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., UKHealthCare Polk-Dalton Clinic, 217 Elm Tree Lane; 1 to 4 p.m., Sanders-Brown Clinic, 1030 S. Broadway, Suite 5.
Free screenings take approximately 30 minutes. If Alzheimer's disease or another illness is suspected, participants will be referred for further evaluation. To schedule an appointment, contact Tyler, (859) 323-6316.
Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: BluegrassMoms.com.