Kingsport Times News Thursday, September 3, 2015
SNEAK PEEK: Take a first look at our new site and tell us what you think. »
Community Sunday Stories

Kiwanis Club of Kingsport and Preston Place II plan Alzheimer's Caregiver Conference

August 12th, 2013 10:10 am by Katherine Scoggins

Kiwanis Club of Kingsport and Preston Place II plan Alzheimer's Caregiver Conference

Author Jolene Brackey will share tips to help reduce caregiver stress.

More than 5 million individuals live with it every day. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is an epidemic, but also a healthcare crisis without any prevention or cure. In developed countries, it is one of the most costly diseases to society. It is Alzheimer’s disease. Most sufferers are over 65 years of age, though some early-onset forms may attack individuals in their 30s and 40s.

Because Alzheimer’s cannot be cured and is degenerative, the sufferer relies on others for assistance, and the role of the main caregiver is most often on by the spouse or a close relative. Alzheimer's disease is known for placing a great burden on caregivers; the pressures can be wide-ranging, involving social, psychological, physical, and economic elements of the caregiver's life.

In response to this epidemic’s effects on patients and particularly caregivers, Preston Place II and the Kiwanis Club of Kingsport are joining together to present an educational conference for caregivers from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church Parish Life Center in Kingsport.

During this conference, caregivers will learn more about Alzheimer’s - its effects and symptoms - as well as the community resources and “backup” available.

“Our goal for this conference is to provide education and tools that teach caregivers how to create nurturing environments for the person living with Alzheimer’s disease as well as the caregivers themselves,” explains Sharon Durnin, Administrator and Certified Dementia Practitioner/Trainer for Preston Place II in Kingsport.

“A caregiver’s role can be very overwhelming, and sometimes small changes can mean the difference between a good day and a stress-filled day. Some days, it’s hard to look past the ‘disease’ and see the person. We want caregivers to walk away with a sense of HOPE.”

Monica K. Crane, M.D., will speak at the morning session of the seminar. Dr. Crane serves as the Director of Clinical Research, Associate Director, Cole Neuroscience Center. She is also an Assistant Professor at UT Medical Center-Knoxville. Dr. Crane is a fellowship-trained geriatric medicine physician who has special expertise in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including frontotemporal dementias. She completed her undergraduate degree at Yale University and her medical school training at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Dr. Crane completed her residency, fellowship and junior faculty work at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Prior to coming to Knoxville, Dr. Crane was the director of a Senior Memory Clinic in Charlotte. She has received numerous clinical and research awards in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, geriatric depressions, frontotemporal dementia and end-of-life care. She shares information in an easy-to-understand, non-clinical way, and will cover understanding and treating Alzheimer’s, as well as healthy aging guidelines. There will be a time for questions following her presentation.

The afternoon speaker is Jolene Brackey, author of “Creating Moments.” Brackey began her career as an interior designer after graduating from Iowa State University, but she soon realized that she derived greater joy from helping people improve the interiors of their lives. In her search, the first job she found was as an activity director for an Alzheimer’s special care unit. She didn’t know what Alzheimer’s was, but she knew she liked older people. Before long, she realized that God had given her a gift. Brackey found ways to create positive outcomes and moments of joy for individuals with the disease as well as those who care for them. Eager to share her practical solutions and insights, she has become a much-sought-after speaker at educational seminars and will share her experience of learning how to create moments of joy, how to create safe havens of comfort, and tips to reduce caregiver stress.

Sponsors for the conference include: Kiwanis Club of Kingsport, Preston Place II, AARP, St. Dominic Catholic Church, Walgreen’s, Merrill-Lynch, Eastman Credit Union, Novartis, Gilbert Advanced Asset Management, First Community Bank and State of Franklin Bank.

Conference fees (including a light breakfast and lunch) are $30 for non-professional caregivers ($40 after Sept. 1); $60 for professional caregivers ($75 after Sept. 1); and $100 for an exhibit table. Six hours of CEU credits are approved. 

For more information or to register, visit the Kiwanis Club website at, call the Kiwanis Club at 423-343-5310, contact Sharon Durnin by email at or call her at 423-378-4673.

Additional Photos

comments powered by Disqus