Alzheimer's Conference slated for Tuesday in Nacogdoches

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas caregiver says those caring for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia will stand to benefit from an upcoming conference.

More than five years ago Jane Austin recognized severe changes in her husband's behavior.

"I saw behaviors that I didn't see before, like road rage," Austin said. "He would get short. This was a person that was a decorated military officer."

In 2008 finally a diagnosis came. Frontal lobe dementia.

"We don't deal with memory loss," Austin said. "We deal with behavior or we deal with aphasia, they just stop talking. They don't communicate anymore."

Austin needed answers. She found them at a Dallas caregivers conference from gerontologist Tam Cummings.

"Her presentation absolutely gave me total piece of mind," Austin said.

The author of two books, untangling dementia and untangling Alzheimer's is praised for her ability to connect with caregivers.

"I was just overwhelmed with what she had to say because it was so down to earth," Austin said. "I wasn't trying to process what was a tau protein in the brain which I didn't understand to begin with."

Cummings provides caregivers a step by step progression of the disease. That's what they want says providers of Alzheimer's patients.

"All caregivers are asking what is going to happen next," said Kathy Strong, a Nacogdoches treatment center director. "What should I prepare for and Tam was just able to explain that in a way that this is the disease process in the brain and these are the things that happen to it and why that happens to it."

Austin wanted to share with East Texans the knowledge, so she invited Cummings to Nacogdoches.

"I know there are people out there that absolutely need to hear what Tam Cummings has to say," Austin said.

Tam Cummings will speak at the conference on Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the North Street Church of Christ in Nacogdoches. It's free to attend.

To RSVP, call 936-569-2384.

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