Alzheimer's Conference

2023 Alzheimer's Conference Flyer

2023 Alzheimer's Conference:
Transitions in the world of Alzheimer's

Sponsored by Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources and the Health Care Providers Council of Pierce County.

Join us in person on Saturday, October 7th for the 18th annual Alzheimer's Conference! Participants will hear presentations from subject-matter experts that offer information and practical skills for individuals and families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

This Conference will feature dynamic speakers on key topics including elder law, financial planning, hospice care, and managing difficult behaviors for safety at home. The Conference will also feature Carolyn Birrell, author of Walking with Fay detailing her personal journey as an Alzheimer’s disease caregiver, an expert panel providing information and answering questions on community resources, caregiver mental health, medical equipment, plus plenty of break time to visit vendor resource tables. 

Knowledge provides hope so come learn all you can at this Conference! 

Easily register online or call the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at 253-798-4600.

Rainier View Christian Church
12305 Spanaway Loop Rd. S
Tacoma, WA 98444

Conference Agenda:

8 am - Coffee with Vendors

8:40 am – Welcome, Aloha, and Introductions

8:45 am - Food Sponsor Remarks - Care Partners Senior Living

8:50 am - Beverage Sponsor Remarks - Liz Ann Johnson Elder Law 

8:55 am - 1st Presentation Sponsor Remarks - LJ Hutson Insurance  

9:00 am - 10:05 am - Transitioning: Elder Law & Financial 

  • Liz Ann Johnson - Liz Ann Johnson Elder Law 
  • Rebecca Rainsberger - Longbridge Financial

10:05 am - 10:25 am – Mid-morning break to visit Vendors

10:25 am - 10:30 am - 2nd Presentation Sponsor Remarks - CayCare 

10:30 am - 11:50 am - Expert Panel: Accessing Community Resources & Support - Finding DME Equipment - Caregiver Mental Health  

  • Matt Santelli - Pierce County ADRC
  • Marty Wittman - Innovation in Mobility 
  • Jenifer Nazarowski - Geriatric Care Manager, Therapist & Life Coach

11:50 am - 12:05 pm - Midday break to visit vendors then head to Breakout Sessions

12:05 pm - 1:15 pm – Breakout Sessions (chosen at registration) 

  • Breakout Session One Sponsor Remarks - Mountain View Funeral Home
    • Hope, Help, & Your Legacy
      • Tim Lenz - Family Services Manager
      • Cheryl Teifke - Multicare Home Health & Hospice 
  • Breakout Session Two Sponsor Remarks - Advanced Health Care
    • Safety at Home and Challenging Behaviors
      • Heidi Huynh - Occupational Therapist
      • Vivienne Campbell - Brookdale Allenmore Memory Care Director

1:15 pm - 1:20 pm – Afternoon break to visit Vendors

1:25 pm - 1:30 pm - 3rd Presentation Sponsor Remarks - Franke Tobey Jones

1:30 pm - 2:15 pm - Personal Transitions; a story of bravery, honesty, and an uncharted journey with author, Carolyn Birrell

2:15 pm - 2:30 pm - Aloha and goodbye


Participants will have time to ask questions of each speaker.  
This conference will offer 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to eligible caregivers who stay to the conference conclusion.

Register Online 

Click here to register online and reserve your ticket.

Unable to Register Online?
Please contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) to reserve your tickets Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. by calling 253-798-4600.
2023 Alzheimer's Conference Website Banner
  1. What is Alzheimers?
  2. What is the HCPC?
  3. Resources
  4. 2021 Conference
  5. 2020 Conference

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. Dementia is a loss of thinking, remembering, and reasoning skills that interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Other types of dementia include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia. 

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – in addition to conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and developmental disabilities – can cause cognitive impairment.  A few commons signs of cognitive impairment include: memory loss; frequently asking the same question or repeating the same story over and over; not recognizing familiar people and places; having trouble exercising judgment, such as knowing what to do in an emergency; changes in mood or behavior; vision problems; and difficulty planning and carrying out tasks, such as following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.  In addition, many more are living without knowing they have the disease.  Supporting them are over 16 million family members and friends who provide unpaid care at home.  Their care is valued at nearly $244 billion by the Alzheimer’s Association.  Between 2000 and 2018 deaths from Alzheimer’s has increased 146% and is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  

Researchers do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease in most people.  However, they continue to study a complex series of age-related brain changes, along with genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors to better understand the disease. Just because a family member has Alzheimer’s disease does not mean that others in the family will get it, too.  Genetic factors can make people more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no guarantee someone will get it.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  Several drugs have been approved to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and certain medicines and other approaches can help control behavioral symptoms.  Scientists continue to develop and test possible new treatments.

Carolyn Birrell

Author, "Walking with Fay"

Carolyn Birrell retired to north Idaho after having spent 20 years in Atlanta, GA, where she worked for the American Cancer Society National Headquarters and then as a real estate agent and new home builder. Soon after her move, she relocated her aging mother to be near her and spent the next eight years caring for her while learning “all things dementia.” She now splits her time between the amazing Gem State and the Florida Gulf Coast, where you can usually find her on her paddle board, plucking strings on her ukulele, or pulling weeds. WALKING WITH FAY is her first book.

Heidi Huynh

Heidi Huynh

Creator and Owner, Ascend Therapy Services

Heidi has always had a passion for finding joy in daily life and helping others achieve that as well. She has years of experience working with aging adults as an Occupational Therapist in many settings including skilled nursing, memory care, assisted living, independent living facilities, and their own homes. Her focus is to assist those she works with in maximizing their independence and safety so they can continue to spend time doing what they love, as well as safely accomplish their typical daily tasks. Once seeing the value of serving aging adults in their own natural environment, she has taken her prior experience and became an entrepreneur, creating Ascend Therapy Services, in which she provides mobile outpatient occupational therapy services and online resources to better reach the greater community, helping individuals, their families, and caregivers.

Liz Johnson, Liz Ann Johnson Elder LawLiz Ann Johnson

Attorney, Liz Ann Johnson Elder Law, PLLC

Liz is a distinguished attorney licensed in Washington State, with a profound commitment to improving the lives of seniors through her legal expertise and community engagement. With a comprehensive practice spanning Guardianships, Medicaid Applications/Appeals, Probates, and Estate Planning, Liz's passion lies in providing crucial legal support to the aging population.

As an accomplished legal professional, Liz has been a prominent voice in educating both her peers and the general public on matters vital to the well-being of seniors. She has shared her insights through various platforms, including being a sought-after speaker for the Pierce County Law Library's instructional videos. Her presentations have illuminated complex legal topics, making them accessible to the general public.

Liz's dedication extends beyond legal forums. Her active participation in events such as the Pierce County Health Care Providers Council and the Pierce County Health Department's Caregiver Conference showcases her commitment to collaborative approaches in enhancing senior care. Her engaging podcasts on Sunshine have further democratized legal knowledge, ensuring that a wider audience benefits from her wisdom on a range of legal matters.

Beyond her legal practice, Liz's heartwarming sponsorship of organizations supporting seniors underscores her holistic approach to aging. By championing initiatives that fuse arts, music, and creativity, she exemplifies her belief in nurturing the spirit alongside addressing care needs. Her efforts stand as a testament to her unyielding dedication to enriching the lives of seniors and promoting their quality of life.

Liz's multifaceted contributions paint the picture of a legal professional who has not only excelled within her field but has also weaved an inspiring tapestry of community involvement. Her work stands as an inspiration for others in the legal profession and beyond, as she continues to shape a future where seniors are empowered, informed, and celebrated.

Connect with Liz to experience firsthand her impactful legal counsel and unwavering advocacy for seniors' rights and well-being.

Tim Lenz

Tim Lenz

Managing Partner - Family Service, Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park and Crematory

Tim received a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in theology and minor in psychology from Texas Lutheran University in 2006. Tim then served as Director of Youth and Family Ministry for eight years for a congregation in Houston. After meeting his wife, Valerie, Tim and she volunteered in Southeast Asia for ten months before returning back to Houston and then beginning a career in the funeral industry.

Tim and his wife Valerie have two daughters, Willa and Elle. Tim and his family enjoy all the outdoors have to offer, such as camping, hiking, skiing, and anything involving activities around the water. Tim and his family have two energetic rescue dogs along with two playful cats. This is his family’s first time to reside in the great Pacific Northwest and look forward to becoming part of this welcoming community.

One of Tim’s passions is serving families in times of need, whether it be after losing a loved one, or in assisting them to discover the benefits of planning ahead in order to help protect their loved ones.

Tim knows that no single approach is the right one for everyone and has been trained in a range of options to include each individual’s desires, traditions, and beliefs.

Jennifer Nazarowski and Hank

Jennifer Nazarowski, LICSW, CMC

Director of Care Management, VillagePlan

I was raised in a home where giving and being involved was the norm. My family had an adult family home and family members with special needs. I grew up in a wonderful community church and still attend. Outreach and helping others is the core of my happiness. 
I went to Pacific Lutheran University for a B.A in Social Work. On every career assessment, social work or counselor was in my top three! I did my internship at Child protective Services and a private adoption agency in 2007. 
I married my best friend and wonderful husband in January of 2008. Later that year, I went on to finish my Master’s Degree at Walla Walla University. 
I began my Social work career working at Western State Psychiatric Hospital in 2009. I will forever be grateful for the amazing team members and patients for the invaluable experience. The brain is fascinating to me and a beautiful reminder that God makes each person unique. 
In the years since, I have worked in the Emergency Department, ICU, Oncology unit, Counseling, and Care Management fields. As a director of Geriatric Care management and a licensed therapist, each experience brings a deeper empathy and desire to meet each individual where they are in that time. There are times where having a therapist walk beside you and offer a different perspective and encouragement is what helps bring about healing and balance.

Rebecca Rainsbeger

Rebecca Rainsberger

Reverse Mortgage Consultant, Longbridge Financial

Rebecca Rainsberger has been a reverse mortgage loan officer since 2007. She serves the entirety of Washington state and travels to her borrowers’ homes to meet with them, face to face. Rebecca received her BFA in Communication Arts from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA and previously worked as a marketing director for an in-home care company in Washington covering all the Puget Sound area.

Educating others about the positive impact reverse mortgages can have on their lives has made being a reverse mortgage consultant the most rewarding job she has ever had. She understands that a reverse mortgage is not for everyone; but educating people and debunking many common myths is very rewarding for her.
In 2012, Rebecca started a non-profit organization called Aging Smart Educational Workshops in Gig Harbor, WA. They are devoted to reaching out to community members to educate them about all the choices and changes that are impacting today’s seniors who are in, or preparing for, retirement.

Rebecca spends spare time directing plays, painting, dancing and being with her only son, as much as possible. She was raised in Southern California and moved to Washington, permanently in 1994.

Matt Santelli headshot

Matt Santelli

Community Outreach and Education Specialist, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center

Matt Santelli has worked at Pierce County Human Services for over 20 years.  He is currently working there as a Community Outreach and Education Specialist on the Aging and Disability Resource Center team.  Matt is a Certified Information and Referral Specialist serving Aging and Disabled populations.  He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Washington.  Matt enjoys educating the senior and disabled residents of Pierce County about the programs and services available to keep them healthy, safe, and financially stable in their homes.     

Marty Whitman

Marty Wittman

Assistive Technology Professional, Bellevue Healthcare
CAPS Instructor, National Association of Home Builders and Building Industry Association

Although a majority of Marty’s professional career has been in the field of K-12 education; Complex Rehabilitation Equipment, Assistive Technology, and Aging In Place are his passionate interests. He is currently an ATP (Assistive Technology Professional) and a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) instructor for the National Association of Home Builders and Building Industry Association of Washington.

In his teenage years, he sustained a spinal cord injury, resulting in paralysis and requiring him to be a full time manual wheelchair user. Hence, his perspective in home accessibility and Complex Rehab are personal, rather than as a job career. For more than 40 years, he has been an integral part of assisting individuals in maximizing mobility and optimizing access within their homes.

Community service is another passion of Marty’s. He has served as a board member for Tacoma/Pierce County Crime Stoppers for more than 15 years. He has been a peer and family mentor for spinal cord injured patients at Good Samaritan Rehab Hospital for over 35 years, and most recently, a peer and family mentor and trainer of trainers for the Christopher Reeve Foundation. He is also a former member of the University Place Lions Club and University Place Children’s Fund.

Marty is honored to be in the Washington State Chapter of National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater Oklahoma and the Curtis High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Marty is married to Michelle, and they have two grown daughters and a grandson. He likes to spend time with his family and friends, enjoy the sun in Arizona, play golf, garden, and tinker around the house.