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Shapiro Administration Hosts Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Virtual Forum Focusing on Lewy Body and Frontotemporal Dementias


Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today hosted the 2023 Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) Virtual Forum. This annual event is convened to provide education and assess progress on issues related to ADRD, strengthen partnerships and community support, and share perspectives from Pennsylvanians and their loved ones who are living with ADRD.

This year's forum, which attracted more than 400 attendees, highlighted two specific types of dementia: Lewy Body, one of the most common causes of dementia, and Frontotemporal, which impacts the front and temporal lobes of the brain. The forum opened with remarks from Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich.

"Every year since the creation of the State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease & Related Disorders, the Department of Aging gathers subject matter experts, stakeholders, and caregivers whose lives are touched by dementia, Alzheimer's, or another related disorder. It is critically important for all of us to talk and listen to people who are living with dementia and caregiving for someone with dementia. Working together, we can build a better network of supports and services to serve this community and improve the lives of countless Pennsylvanians," said Secretary Kavulich.

According to the Alzheimer's Association's 2023 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures Report on Pennsylvania:

  • there are an estimated 280,000 people aged 65 and older with Alzheimer's in Pennsylvania (as of 2020) and this number is expected to increase to 320,000 by 2025;
  • there were 4,150 deaths from Alzheimer's Disease in 2019; and 
  • nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year in Pennsylvania has Alzheimer's or some other dementia.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Debra Tann, Ed.D., CEO of Reminiscent – a brain health organization based in Georgia that works to enhance and advance the knowledge and dialogue concerning dementia. The forum included a presentation on Lewy Body Dementia, updates on Pennsylvania's Master Plan for Older Adults, and a panel discussion on with living with Lewy Body and Frontotemporal Dementias.

Among the panel was Dr. Gary Schmidt, who is living with Lewy Body Dementia, and Janet Schmidt, his wife and care partner.

"As a retired registered nurse with experience in geriatrics, hospice and nursing homes, I thought that I knew quite a bit about dementia. But I had no idea of the challenges a person with Lewy Body Dementia faces. I had no idea that it really affects every body system and can affect each person so uniquely," said Janet Schmidt.

The ADRD Forum is held annually each November to highlight National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and to further the Commonwealth's progress in implementing the recommendations of the State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease & Related Disorders.

Learn more about Lewy Body and Frontotemporal dementias along with ADRD-related resources by visiting the Department of Aging's website

MEDIA CONTACT: Jack Eilber, Aging:

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