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Eye-Opening! Dementia Risks for Deaf People


Dementia is an umbrella term for more than 100 different medical conditions that can cause memory, thinking, and behavior changes. On Saturday, May 18th, approximately 240 Deaf Community members and neurological professionals had the privilege of learning about dementia at the Dementia Risks in Deaf People educational workshop presented by Dr. Jaime Wilson from Washington State, a nationally board-certified Deaf neuropsychologist. 

We all walked out of the theater at the Frederick Community College with a new understanding of Dementia after learning from Dr. Wilson who presented the information in an entertaining way that it was easy to absorb and understand complicated neurological content. We hope that the professionals who attended will improve their services with a renewed understanding of the uniqueness of the Deaf community’s needs when it comes to dementia. 

We learned that there are higher risks for Deaf people (over 50% chance)  than the general population (32% chance) and about the eight shields that can help reduce our risks for dementia. All that information can be found in the book he wrote, Preserving the Etchings of the Mind: Aging, Dementia, and Hearing Loss. This book is published by a Frederick-based Deaf-owned publishing company, Savory Words Publishing, owned by Ms. Trudy Suggs.

As mentioned by Dr. Wilson, we in Maryland are fortunate enough to have access to a board-certified neuropsychologist who signs fluently in ASL and her name is Dr. Jennifer Reesman. For those who want to be evaluated, she can be reached at  Jenniferreesman@chesapeakeadd.com




 

The Maryland Deaf Community Center was pleased to offer this community education opportunity and couldn’t do it without the event partners. Many thanks go to the collaborators: 

 

For learners who want to learn more about neuropsychology and Deaf people, resources are found on Dr. Wilson’s website: https://wilsonclinical.com/resources/#books 

 

In attendance were representatives from The Alzheimer’s Association in Maryland who wanted to offer their resource, the 24/7 Helpline: 800- 272-3900. Deaf callers will need to use VRS to reach this helpline. You may want to check out their website: https://www.alz.org/aboutWe all need to exercise, eat healthy food, go to medical appointments, and do more to reduce our risks for dementia. 


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