January virtual expert series programs


DAYTON — The Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter is hosting two virtual Expert Series programs in January that will provide participants with actionable tools to help protect their brain health and put legal and financial plans into place following a dementia diagnosis.

The programs, being offered free to the community, will be held at the following times on Zoom: Strategies to Optimize Brain Health with Dr. Sigward will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23, and Legal Planning: The Basics and Beyond, will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Pre-registration is required. To register for one of these programs, call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900. Instructions on how to join the webinars will be emailed following registration.

“These programs are a great way to hear from experts in the field about important issues that arise in relation to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” said Dayna Ritchey, program director for the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter.

Strategies to Optimize Brain Health will feature guest speakers Timothy Sigward, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with NeuroPsych Center of Greater Cincinnati, and Kristen Sigward, M.S., CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist and Healthy Brains Program Director for NeuroPsych Center. They will discuss research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement in regard to maximizing the health of both the brain and the body. During the program, they will offer hands-on tools to help participants incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy living.

Studies have shown that exercise and healthy lifestyle interventions could help improve cognitive function and quality of life for people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a condition characterized by cognitive changes that could increase the risk of developing dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” Additionally, physical activity, healthy diet and staying socially and mentally active have long been listed among modifiable risk factors that could prevent or delay the development of dementia. Recent research also has found a tie between eating ultra-processed foods and risk of dementia.

“The new year is a great time to place a renewed focus on maximizing the health of your brain to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia,” Ritchey said. “This program will help you get started.”

Legal Planning: The Basics and Beyond will feature guest speaker Kim Estess, an attorney with O’Diam & Estess Law Group, Inc. in Washington Township, whose area of focus is elder law. She will discuss tips for managing someone else’s finances, how to prepare for future care costs and the benefits of early planning.

“Legalities and finances may be the last things you want to discuss when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, but it’s important to put these plans in place early, while your loved one is able to provide input,” Ritchey said. “This program will give you the tools you need so that you can focus on caring for your family member.”

In 2023, there were 421,000 caregivers caring for 220,000 Ohioans age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s “2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” The number of people living with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase to 250,000 by 2025.

Those concerned about themselves or a loved one can contact the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter office at 937-291-3332 to schedule a care consultation with a social worker who can offer connections to local resources that can help.