Thursday, May 15, 2008
Alzheimer's Public Policy Forum 2008
I received a scholarship to attend the Public Policy Forum in Washington D.C. this year. The catch was that I had to share a room with the director of our local Alz. Assoc. The scholarship was apparently limited, I never received specifics. Everything came through the director. Next year I would wish for firm information in hand.
The best part of the week was the event Monday from 9 to noon. It was a Town Hall meeting in which the Alz. Assoc. listened to people with dementia. The moderator asked that caregivers not speak. Unfortunately some of them didn't follow the rules :( It was nice to hear others who are walking this path with me share their experiences, their opinions and their hopes. Next year I hope we have a break out session during the public policy forum just for people with dementia. Once the town hall was over, it was challenging to identify the people who had spoken. I was fortunate in that I was able to finally meet some people I have become friends with through the internet dementia support system. I met James Smith, Jay Smith, Bill Bridgewater, Sue Pinder, Kris Bakowski and joined the Chuckettes and spent every second I could with my dear friend Chuck Jackson and his daughter, Rachel.
The last day on the hill was grueling. Walking, talking, sticking with talking points, supporting information with facts and figures. I think there is a learning curve with this event and next year I would be very careful to make certain a family member could travel with me. Even having one of my son's would have been a help. They know me and know my routine. having to ask for what I needed during the week was challenging. I need lots of quiet [alone time], I need to exercise daily, I need to have great internet access so I can update family and other PWD's about the event. The Hotel this year was phenomenal, but the internet access was pathetic.