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Wasatch County

Wasatch County nonprofit to host conference for Alzheimer’s caregivers

Lynden Foundation.jpg
Katie Blanch, director, and Dr. G. Marsden Blanch, founder, of the Lynden Legacy Foundation

A Heber Valley family’s nonprofit is holding a conference to support people caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Katie Blanch, organizer of the Midway Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and Summerhouse Farms Pumpkin Patch, is gearing up for a new event.

Her Lynden Legacy Foundation will host a caregivers conference May 20 and 21 for people taking care of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Because caregivers can be inexperienced with the challenges of patient care, she says it’s meant to offer resources to an underserved group.

“Our mission of the caregiver conference is to connect to caregivers and let them know they are not alone,” Blanch says. “Sometimes it's direct support and you’re taking care of the patient, and sometimes it's helping to support the decisions of the primary caregiver. We have resources. There are people that can help and make you feel better, and help you with your grief.”

The conference is Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Blanch Family Education Center at Alta View Hospital in Sandy.

The Lynden Foundation’s name comes from the names Marsden and Lynn. Lynn Blanch is Marsden Blanch’s wife and Katie Blanch’s mother, as well as an Alzheimer’s patient.

The conference will feature keynote speaker Dr. Kara Dassel of the University of Utah’s Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program, speaking about embracing the present and preparing for the future.

Other speakers will cover the clinical side of the disease, the effects of music on the brain, helpful practices and legal issues caregivers should be aware of. Some workshops will cover healthy dwelling spaces and grooming for loved ones.

Another local organization, the Alzheimer’s Association, is a conference partner as well as the organizer of the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s for Summit and Wasatch counties.

“We all work together; this disease is too big for any one nonprofit to tackle,” says Laura Wall, Alzheimer’s Association director of development. “As their foundation continues to grow, they’ll focus more on things that we at the Alzheimer’s Association don’t do.”

The Alzheimer’s Association’s walking fundraiser happens August 13. It’s already raised thousands toward its $170,000 goal, and registration is open at alz.org.

Tickets to the upcoming caregivers conference cost $20. For those who don’t attend, the foundation will post portions of speeches online afterward. Visit lyndenlegacy.com.

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