The Morning Pointe Foundation, with guest speaker Matthew Kodsi, Ph.D., vice president of medical affairs for CHI Memorial, recently presented a virtual seminar on understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The presentation on Sept. 7 was the latest in the Morning Pointe Foundation’s Caregiver Café series, free webinars providing education for seniors, their families and other caregivers.
Kodsi is a neurologist with more than 25 years of experience. He has volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association for 13 years. Joining him was Amy French, senior manager of programs and education for the Alzheimer’s Association office in Chattanooga.
The session focused on some of the common questions that people ask, including explaining the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, how to know if a loved one has dementia and how to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“Dementia is not a disease,” Kodsi explained. “Dementia just describes the symptoms that the person has.”
Kodsi shared that the biggest indicator of dementia is not just a lapse in memory but a notable change in the person’s habits or behavior. One example is as a former accountant displaying difficulty making change. Kodsi advised families who suspect that their loved one has dementia to accompany their loved one to the doctor and explain the changes they are seeing. Family members can even make a bulleted list of changes to share with the medical team on check-in. That way, the physician can review before the visit begins.
Kodsi and French discussed other behaviors associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s, which makes up 70-80 percent of dementia cases, according to Kodsi. They gave tips for ways families can deal with the changes their loved ones are experiencing.
The webinar addressed some of the medications used to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms. It touched on caregiver stress management and when looking for additional memory care is appropriate.
“There comes a time when the care that you can provide is not enough – it’s not what will keep them safe or keep them as comfortable as possible in that situation,” Kodsi said. “When you’re starting to ask yourself, ‘Is it time?’, that usually means it’s time.”
At the end of the seminar, several registrants participated in a live question-and-answer session with French.
More than 200 people registered for the webinar.
The session is available to watch on the Morning Pointe Foundation website: https://morningpointe.com/caregiver-cafe/. The site also includes a calendar of scheduled speakers for other Caregiver Cafés.
The Morning Pointe Caregiver Café wellness series connects experts on senior living and care with those experiencing the physical and mental effects of aging and their families for free.
The Morning Pointe Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Morning Pointe Senior Living founded by Tennessee-based senior healthcare entrepreneurs Greg A. Vital and J. Franklin Farrow. The 501(c)3 nonprofit public service organization was created in 2014 to provide caregiver support programs, sponsor educational awareness events, and fund clinical scholarships to advance the care of seniors throughout the Southeast.
Morning Pointe Senior Living, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, develops, owns, and manages 37 Morning Pointe personal care, assisted living, and The Lantern at Morning Pointe Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence memory care communities in five southeastern states. The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022.