[CINCINNATI, Ohio ~ March 31, 2016] “I am so encouraged that so many of you are here today, because this wasn’t the case 10 years ago,” said Alzheimer’s expert and author Lisa Genova, addressing the sold-out crowd at “Refresh Your Soul 2016,” hosted by Parish Health Ministry, a service of Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). The conference Title Sponsor was Christ Church Cathedral.
“But we can do something. We can bring people living with this disease back into the community. And it all starts with something as simple as what we’re doing today: a conversation.”
Ms. Genova is a Boston neuroscientist, a Bates College valedictorian who traded in her practice to become a self-published author. She’s now a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer’s and a New York Times best-selling author of several novels, most notably “Still Alice,” made into a 2014 film starring Julianne Moore. Ms. Moore won the 2015 Oscar for Best Actress with her portrayal of a young Harvard neuroscientist dealing with aging issues in her family.
Genova’s literary quest, to seek answers to Alzheimer’s, was like so many others dealing with the baffling, debilitating disease and accompanying dementia. Her new profession began when her 85-year-old grandmother headed out for bowling. In the middle of the night. By herself.
“We all knew she was slowing down, forgetting words, leaving the keys in the door, the tea kettle on the stove, not able to do the checkbook anymore,” Genova told a crowd approaching 1,000 at the Tri-County Assembly of God Church in Fairfield.
“So we all went ahead with this dance, that this was a part of normal aging. But it wasn’t. This walk to the bowling alley in the middle of the night, this confusion, this disorientation, this inability to understand, was Alzheimer’s.”
Ms. Genova shared her expertise, experience, personal and professional timeline as the keynote speaker for “Refresh Your Soul 2016,” the annual conference and fundraiser for ERS’ Parish Health Ministry, held in March. She was joined by Teepa Snow, another national expert on aging, specifically dementia. Parish Health Ministry extends Episcopal Retirement Services’ mission and ministry by encouraging congregations to renew their role in healthcare through health education, personal health counseling, advocacy, focusing on prevention, and treating the whole person in body, mind and spirit. Working with 77 churches in the region to start a health ministry or enhance an existing one, 700 referrals were made to physicians, clergy, parish nurses, and community agencies in 2015.
“The conference was incredible and attracted our biggest crowd yet. Lisa and Teepa were able to touch the hearts of attendees giving them hope through understanding and offering practical, effective caregiving advice.” said Jeanne Palcic, director of Parish Health Ministry at ERS. This year’s event marked the 16th conference.
Besides the talks from Ms. Genova and Ms. Snow, attendees benefitted from an entire day spent with ERS and Parish Health Ministry personnel, professional colleagues, fellow caregivers, and other family members dealing with the same issues, seeking more information about Alzheimer’s and dementia. What they heard was a comprehensive dialogue on a topic that’s been thankfully dragged out of the closet and plopped in America’s lap.
The speakers’ messages were upbeat, positive, and left attendees with intimate, practical knowledge and advice for dealing with a scourge upon seniors and their families worldwide.
And all it takes is a conversation, Genova said.
She drew parallels between the increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s and how people have successfully dealt with other horrible, deadly diseases, such as HIV and cancer.
“When the HIV virus first hit in the ‘80s, it primarily hit the gay population, and that community wasn’t really talking about it because of the shame and stigma. It’s the same story with Alzheimer’s,” Genova said. “Then something changed, and it began with conversation and empathy.”
“Do you remember when nobody would even say the word ‘cancer?’ We talked in whispers. We called it ‘The Big C.’ We wouldn’t even say it,” Genova said. “What happened was people would have to go through it alone. There was, again, this shame and stigma that we wouldn’t speak of this. There were no blue ribbons back then for cancer, no fundraisers, no neighbors helping with casseroles and carpools. People suffered with it alone, and privately. We did not have treatments, and we did not have survivors.”
“It’s not an accident that something happened with how we deal with cancer. We began to talk about it, to have a conversation on what cancer is, what it’s like to go through that, and then it wasn’t sympathy we felt from a distance. The conversation generated empathy,” Genova continued, “then we began to do lavender ribbons, casseroles and carpools. We began to hold their hand and be with the people who were going through it. And now we have treatments, and survivors.”
Genova believes science will discover a cure for Alzheimer’s. In the meantime, she hearkened to the audience to keep the faith. And to keep talking.
“The acceleration of the scientific understanding of this disease is staggering, and amazing. We can get to a cure for this disease, but part of the equation has to be a conversation that leads to empathy, that leads to funding, that will lead to treatments and survivors,” Genova said.
Parish Health Ministry and ERS would like to extend their deepest thanks and sincere appreciation to Ms. Lisa Genova and Ms. Teepa Snow. Arrangements for the appearance of Lisa Genova made through Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau, New York, NY.
ERS now serves more than 1,500 residents and touches another 9,725 people through the community-based services it provides, including the parishioners served by Parish Health Ministry.
ERS also operates Deupree Meals On Wheels, delivering warm, nutritious meals to more than 300 seniors daily. The ERS resident population continues to grow with the rapid expansion of Affordable Living by ERS, which more than 1,100 low-income older adults now call home.
Keynote Lisa Genova, PhD
Dr. Lisa Genova is the bestselling author of Still Alice and a Harvard-trained neuroscientist. Still Alice is the story of an accomplished Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and it changes her life — and her relationship with her family and the world — forever. Lisa has appeared on the Today Show, Dr. Oz, the Diane Rehm Show, CNN, Chronicle, Fox News, and Canada AM and was featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary film, To Not Fade Away. The National Alzheimer’s Association awarded her with the Sargent and Eunice Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award in March 2015.
Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA
Teepa Snow is one of America’s leading educators on dementia. Working as a Registered Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, her wealth of experience has led her to develop Positive Approach™ to Care techniques and training models used by families and professionals working or living with dementia or other brain changes throughout the world. Currently, she has an independent practice as well as clinical appointments with Duke University’s School of Nursing & University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She is an enlightening, witty, entertaining, and energetic speaker.
Understanding what it feels like to have Alzheimer’s gives us a chance at empathy, compassion, and real connection. Keynote presenter, Dr. Lisa Genova, will share her passion, motivation, and insights gained in writing the bestseller, Still Alice, about a college professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She will inspire attendees in ways to connect with those with dementia when communication and real connection are difficult.
Teepa Snow will challenge you to consider the whole person when caring for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. You will gain a better understanding of the importance of spiritual wellbeing and its relationship to physical, cognitive, emotional and social health. Changes that occur as the disease progresses and how they affect one’s ability to express and meet spiritual needs will be explored. Most importantly, she will share key strategies which are effective in helping a person with dementia gain or maintain their spiritual health.
Through her extraordinary and unique presentation style, Teepa Snow will highlight the memory, language and impulse control problems experienced by one with dementia and how those problems affect communication. She will demonstrate some of the typical behaviors of care providers and loved ones in response to these problems and offer more effective techniques to enhance communication through the early, middle and later stages of dementia.
To help meet the long-term goal of Parish Health Ministry becoming self-supporting, this event is the primary fundraiser for the ministry. 100% of the proceeds from this conference will benefit ERS Parish Health Ministry.
Parish Health Ministry, a program of Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS), assists congregations of all denominations throughout Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Southeastern Ohio develop or enhance their own faith community nurse/health ministry. The ministry was founded in 1998 and currently serves 77 congregations across southern Ohio.
Since 1951, ERS has dedicated itself to improving the lives of older adults through innovative, quality living environments and in-home and community-based services delivered by experienced and compassionate professionals.
For conference brochure, click here.
Help spread the word! Click here to download the 2016 Refresh Your Soul flyer. You can print and post it in the office, your church or other community bulletin board. You can also download our black and white version for easy printing if you prefer.
Nursing 5.2 hours
This offering has been approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing through the OBN Approver Unit at Upper Valley Medical Center OBN-005-92.
Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage & Family Therapist
The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage & Family Therapist Board has approved 5.25 clock hours of professional continuing education. Approval #MCST031601.
Nursing Home Administrators
The Board of Executives of Long-Term Services and Support has approved 4.75 course hours
Approved by the Ohio OTPTAT Board - OT Section 4.75 Contact Hours Approval #150551.
Approved by OPTA for 4.75 CEUs Approval #15S2158.
Registration for the 2017 conference will open later this year.
Friday, March 4, 2016
|8 - 9 a.m.||
Registration, Check In, Continental Breakfast, Exhibitors
|9 - 9:15 a.m.||
Welcome & Opening Remarks
|9:15 - 10:15 a.m.||
Keynote Speaker – Lisa Genova
|10:15 - 10:30 a.m.||
Q & A – Lisa Genova
|10:30 - 11:10 a.m.||
Break, Exhibitors, Book Signing – Lisa Genova
|11:10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.||
|12:30 - 1:30 p.m.||
Lunch & Exhibitors
|1:30 - 2:50 p.m.||
|2:50 - 3 p.m.||
Ten Minute Stretch Break
|3 - 4 p.m.||
4 - 4:15 p.m.
Evaluation & Closing
Join us in 2017! Date and time for the 2017 conference will be announced later this summer.
Location for the 2017 conference will be announced later this summer.