Alzheimer's Association holding caregivers conference to help Spanish speakers

According to the Alzheimer's Association every 65 seconds, someone in our country develops Alzheimer's. In the Central Valley, more than 50,000 people are living with that disease.

"Imagine not being able to remember who you are when you look int he mirror," said Stella De La Pena Regional Director for the Alzheimer's Association.

Latinos are at an even higher risk, with a language barrier only adding to the problem. That is why the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California along with other agencies are holding an educational conference in Spanish.

"There is also a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in Latinos and those are risk factors for Alzheimer's disease as well," she said.

In many cases, family members become the sole caregivers for those afflicted. In Sylvia Plumb's case, she and three of her siblings care for her mother who suffers from the disease. At first, they discovered small changes that slowly got worse.

"Before she would just cocoon and not want to do anything," said Plumb.

Once she was diagnosed they found ways to ease her state of mind. Still, she would forget about major family events, like the passing of her brother.

"We try not to overreact or over-respond to that," she said. "We tell her, "remember mom, he passed away, but he was amazing wasn't he"."

The disease can weigh just as heavy on a caregiver.

"Burnout is a medical condition and we see that with caregivers, unfortunately, some caregivers pass away before their loved one, because of the burnout," said Susana Rodriguez - Valley Caregiver Resource Center

The Central Valley Alzheimer's Caregiver and Wellness Conference will be held this Saturday at UCSF Fresno starting at eight A-M. It is Free to the public in hopes of helping all those touched by the disease.

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