Jaimelyn Sapienza, now 21, was only 16 when her dad was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but she and her family had been noticing the signs for six years prior. Her dad, now 62, no longer knows basic things about her family, their house or himself. He doesn't know when to eat, shower or go to sleep without instruction – Sapienza says it’s similar to taking care of a toddler. Because her dad is not severe enough in his condition to qualify for assistance programs, Sapienza’s mother has taken on the role as his primary caregiver.
“Learning to adjust our family’s life to my dad’s diagnosis has been difficult for me because I've never had a friend to relate to,” says Sapienza. “A lot of my friends have divorced parents or married parents or single parents, but I have never met anyone with a parent with Alzheimer's. My dad’s decline has been so rapid since his diagnosis; I would have never thought this could happen to someone who was so young and full of life.”
Sapienza’s story is not uncommon. In fact, there are more than 60,000 San Diegans living with Alzheimer’s disease.
On June 12, 2014, the County of San Diego is hosting an Aging Summit
to raise awareness of and share resources about Alzheimer’s disease
and other dementias. County Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, Supervisor Greg
Cox, and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will all be in attendance to
talk about the theme of “Creating a Safe and Caring Community” with a
focus on issues related to safety and concerns of caregivers.
Safety is one of the three elements of the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative - along with health and thriving. How do we protect our most vulnerable citizens from scams, fraud and other crimes? How can they protect themselves from physical harm? From identity theft? How about disaster planning for those with special needs? And fall prevention? How can we reduce isolation and depression that can lead to older adult suicides?
Family caregivers are the backbone of our healthcare system. Without their time, energy and sacrifice, many homebound seniors would be institutionalized. But who cares for the caregivers? Our Live Well San Diego community supports its caregivers with resources, respite and support through many different agencies, programs and individuals. What more can we do? What else is needed to keep family caregivers from burnout and give them hope?
Please join us on June 12 to learn what our community is already offering in terms of safety and caregiving resources. And let’s open up the discussion on what more we as a Live Well San Diego community can do to protect our most vulnerable citizens and embrace our hard-working caregivers.
Register now for this
interesting and meaningful day.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
8:30 am to 2:30 pm
Main site at Town & Country Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego 92108
The main speakers will be webcast to the North County companion site:
California Center for the Arts-Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido 92025
This is a free event, but there is a parking fee of $3 at the Town
Lunch provided. Spanish translation is available.
Keynote speakers include Gail Sheehy, author of “Passages” and “Passages for Caregivers”; philanthropist and former caregiver, Darlene Shiley; and Deputy District Attorney, Paul Greenwood, head of the DA’s Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit.
Register online or call the AARP Registration Line at 877.926.8300
Thanks to our sponsors, who make this event possible: the County of
San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency; AARP; SDG&E; the
North County Community Action Network (NorCAN); and the Sycuan and
Barona Tribal Governments.
We hope to see you there!
County Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Supervisor Greg Cox talk with ABC 10's Bill Griffith about the Aging Summit on June 12