A health care first — the Central Valley Alzheimer’s Caregiver and Wellness Conference conducted entirely in Spanish — will be presented at Fresno State from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the North Gym (Room 118).

Latinos are 1.5 times more likely than non-Latinos to develop Alzheimer’s according to the Alzheimer’s Association, a conference co-sponsor. In California there are 92,000 Latinos living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to increase to over 278,000 in five years.

The free, public event is co-sponsored by the Fresno State’s Psychology Department and College of Science and Mathematics, the Valley Caregiver Resource Center and the Alzheimer and Memory Center operated by the University of California, San Francisco’s Fresno Medical Education Program.

Spanish-speaking caregivers can attend the free, public event to meet medical professionals, learn about resources and hear discussions on such topics as warning signs for memory loss, staying healthy as a caregiver, family support and dance therapy.

Bilingual Fresno State psychology students will join medical professionals and resource agencies and share their expertise in interacting with the community.

“This event is the first local effort to bring culturally appropriate education conducted entirely in Spanish to the community’s Spanish-speaking caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease and brain-impairing illnesses,” said Dr. Amanda Mortimer, a psychology professor who serves on the Valley Caregivers Resource Center Board.

“There’s a huge burden to caring for a loved one with these illnesses, and the burden becomes even heavier if there’s difficulty accessing care and finding community support,” she said. “We really hope this event will help people make connections to finding the help and support they need.”

Mortimer, who is in Siena, Italy training in epigenetics in Alzheimer’s, teaches a service-learning course at Fresno State where her upper division psychology undergraduate students provide 80-plus hours of service working directly with people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. They work in partnership with community resources providing them the opportunity to learn firsthand about neurocognitive disorders.

To RSVP for the conference, contact Ana Salazar at 559.227.4810 (ext. 201). A light meal will be served. A similar conference in English will be held Nov. 5.

In February, Fresno State hosted the first Spanish-language conference for the Latino deaf and hard of hearing population.

For more information about the event, contact Stella De La Pena at 559.871.1669 or sdelapena@alz.org; or for info about Fresno State’s program, contact Mortimer at amortimer@csufresno.edu.