“Like so many families across the country, my family was directly impacted by Alzheimer’s. My father, Joel, was diagnosed at the age of 50 with young-onset Alzheimer’s and passed away in 2018 after a 10 year battle with the disease. My dad was the greatest man to ever live – full of energy and life, intelligent, and always good for a laugh even on the toughest of days. There was just no one in the world quite like him. This disease robbed my dad of so much and at such a young age, so it has been my passion since his diagnosis to do my part to contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. Now I am an employee of the Alzheimer’s Association, fighting this disease every single day. It has become my personal mission to End Alzheimer’s in my dad’s memory. While it won’t bring my dad back, my hope is that I can be a part of changing the trajectory of this disease so that no other family has to be torn apart by Alzheimer’s.”
“Both my father and grandmother, who lived with us, had Alzheimer’s and were taken care of by my mother for many years.”
“Like so many American’s, Alzheimer’s affected my family. My Dad lived with Alzheimer’s and I saw the impact of this disease on a loving father and grandfather and on a man who was such an accomplished physician and researcher. My families journey only added fuel to the fire of my passion to achieve our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. In my 15+ years working for the Alzheimer’s Association, I am only more convinced of the urgency of our cause and on the effectiveness of the work of the Alzheimer’s Association. We need to do more and as quickly as possible.”
“My mother had Alzheimer’s disease for 12 years before succumbing from the disease in 2002. Since that time, I served on the Chapter board as Treasurer, was the original chair of the Hope on the Harbor dinner committee and currently serve as Chair of the Cape Cod Walk.”
Today 5.2mm individuals and their families are impacted by the Alzheimer’s disease. This number will continue to grow as the U.S. population age 65 and older continues to increase. By 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to reach 7.1 million. To me, these numbers are staggering. As a Managing Director in Corporate Banking I have dealings with large multinational companies who employ many individuals who have been impacted or soon will be impacted by this disease. At present time there is no cure, and while this may seem daunting, I have chosen to devote my time and energy and work with the MA/NH Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and share in their ultimate vision of a World Without Alzheimer’s.
Pain has an impact on behavior, function and quality of life for people living with dementia, but is one of the most mismanaged conditions. The challenges of understanding and treating acute and chronic pain for those with dementia are complex and often overlooked. Identifying and treating pain requires the ability to listen to what individuals are communicating through behaviors and body language. To treat pain for someone with dementia we must look beyond the words. This keynote offers the opportunity to explore strategies for identifying and managing pain including the use of standardized tools for assessment and monitoring along with the use of medications for individualizing comfort measures.
Melanie Bunn, GNP, MS, RN, is a Consulting Associate at the Duke University School of Nursing, Certified Trainer, Coach and Consultant for Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care, and has her own education consulting company, Bunn Consulting. She received her degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Master’s degree in Family Health Nursing from Clemson University and a Post-Master’s Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Certificate from Duke University. She has provided primary care to older people in a variety of settings including retirement homes, long term care nursing, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and in the home as a gerontological nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist and staff nurse. In 2014, Ms. Bunn was awarded the Dr. Ewald W. Busse Award by the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services Department of Health and Human Services for her contributions to improving the care of older adults with dementia and their families.
“My Grandmother had Alzheimer’s and I have witnessed how devastating and heartbreaking the disease can be on a family. I work in the biotechnology industry, focused on developing new medicines for devastating diseases; it is clear that this disease in particular is a major and growing issue for our society. As an active member of the Alzheimer’s Association with the Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter for 10 years, I am proud of all we have accomplished in terms of raising awareness as well as funds. But there is more to do – more research to fund, more development paths to pursue, and more support to provide to Alzheimer’s patients and their families.”
“I joined the Alzheimer’s Association several years ago after my family had been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The disease does not discriminate, cutting across all economic and cultural boundaries. The millions affected are our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues. The work of the Alzheimer’s Association – providing crucial support services and conducting ground-breaking research – has never been as vital as it is today.”