Dementia caregiving workshop in Juneau March 16

“Excellence in Dementia Care: Enhancing Well-Being & Improving Living Spaces” will feature two experts and bring together dementia care professionals and family caregivers. The all-day event is taking place Wednesday at Centennial Hall, and it’s not too late to register.

Sherri von Wolfe said it’s a chance for people to network. Von Wolfe is an accessibility specialist at Southeast Alaska Independent Living, one of the workshop’s sponsors.

“There’s no one solution, so I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to come together, get as many ideas as they can and share each others strengths and insights,” she said.

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability, including memory loss. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, according to the voluntary health organization Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr. G. Allen Power will be presenting from 9 a.m. to noon. Power is a geriatrician, internist and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester. He’ll talk on methods to enhance the wellbeing of people living with dementia.

After a provided lunch, Rosemary Bakker will be the afternoon presenter from 1 to 5 p.m. She’s a Research Associate in Gerontological Design in Medicine at Cornell University. Her talk will highlight the art and science of designing environments that factor in the daily challenges faced by individuals living with dementia.

“Life is about continued growth, even in the later years,” said von Wolfe. “It’s important to have a place where you’re living that’s home, where you continue to grow in, and a place that enhances your wellbeing. They’ll talk about eliminating loneliness, helplessness and boredom.”

One of SAIL’s missions is to inspire personal independence.

“So the idea of aging in place is really important to us. If someone wants to live at home as long as possible, part of our mission is to be a resource to help people find ways to do that,” von Wolfe said.

She said the workshop is timely and relevant.

According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Alaska’s population aged 65 and older is expected to double by 2042, reaching more than 140,000 people. By 2017, a quarter of Southeast Alaska’s population will be 60 or older.

“A lot of people here are just getting to that age where they want to stay here. Residential type of options are limited, but people also want to live at home, so we’re trying to figure out ways for people to do that that is safe and will, at the end, save money,” von Wolfe said.

“Excellence in Dementia Care: Enhancing Well-Bring & Improving Living Spaces” is free to family caregivers. For professionals in the field, the registration cost is $125 for the full day, $65 for a half day. You can register at or

On Thursday, March 17, SAIL is offering a condensed version of the workshop at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The talk is free and will be live-conferenced throughout the state via the library’s Online With Libraries system.

• Contact reporter Lisa Phu at 523-2246 or

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