About one in five Black Americans age 70 and older live with Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia that progressively destroys a person’s memory. Surrounding them are myriad caregivers — spouses, children, neighbors, churches and others who rally to help.
“There’s a lot of discussion of child care and the challenges around child care. But for quite a while now, I think the issues around parent care have surpassed the child care challenges,” said Shelly Young, program manager for the Alzheimer’s Association in North Texas.
Young and her colleagues will host a free Black Caregiver Seminar on Feb. 25 in Fort Worth. The purpose of the event is to help people who help people. Anyone is welcome, she said.
“Especially for a person who is an Alzheimer’s caregiver, high touch is really important,” Young said. “A lot of caregivers become isolated over time. On top of that, the pandemic was so isolating. So, folks really benefit from physically being together … and knowing that you’re with people who are on a similar journey.”
If you go:
What: “Hope for Tomorrow, Help for Today”: Black Caregiver Seminar
When: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25
Where: Tarrant County College
5301 Campus Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76119
The event is free, and a healthy breakfast and lunch will be included. Registration preferred, but not required. For questions, call 800-272-3900.
The seminar includes a lecture by Sid O’Bryant, a professor and Alzheimer’s expert at The University of North Texas Health Science Center. In September, O’Bryant and a team of scientists received a $150 million grant to study how Alzheimer’s disease differs among racial and ethnic groups.
At the seminar, he’ll share what’s known when it comes to Alzheimer’s in Black people and which lifestyle changes can prevent or delay cognitive decline, Young said.
The event also includes physical movement, like stretching, and a cooking demonstration from Chef Reggie Robinson of Lil’ Boy Blue BBQ in Fort Worth. “With the goal of putting a healthy twist on the food that we love,” Young said.
Finally, the seminar ends with a session around caregiver stress. “I hope they feel encouraged. I hope they feel empowered,” Young said. “One thing that we really want people to understand is that there is help for this journey.”
Beyond the seminar, the Alzheimers’ Association offers ongoing support groups, as well as financial and legal planning, for caregivers. Other dementia care groups, like Dementia Friendly Fort Worth, also provide support to caregivers.
As for Young, this seminar, which happens annually, is one of her favorite events.
“It’s one of those (events) that I always walk away from feeling encouraged. And happy, which I know sounds crazy, because we’re talking about one of the worst diseases out there,” she said. “It can be really joyful.”
Alexis Allison is the health reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Her position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. Contact her at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.