September 30, 2023
Annapolis, US 64 F

April 18th Caregiver’s Conference

aaco-logo-colorSylvia Mackey, wife and caregiver of National Football League legend John Mackey, will be the keynote speaker at the 17th annual Caregivers’ Conference to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Annapolis Senior Activity Center, 119 S. Villa Ave., Annapolis.

John Mackey, who was a Hall of Fame tight end for the Baltimore Colts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is probably the most notable victim of frontal temporal dementia among former football players.

Mrs. Mackey, a former model who returned to work at age 56 as an airline attendant because of medical and other expenses, helped to establish the “88 Plan,” so named for her husband’s team jersey number, in 2006. A joint effort of the league and the NFL Players Association, the “88 Plan” was established to provide funds to families of former football players who have various forms of dementia.

The conference will provide information on caregiving for families of the elderly and disabled and for professionals in the field. Vendors from local agencies and businesses will be on hand to share resources and information to assist with caregiving needs. Topics and speakers include:

  • Understanding Sensory Loss: Mary Fridley, registered nurse, columnist, speaker, and family and corporate consultant for caregiver, eldercare, and aging issues.
  • Why Aren’t They Listening? Communication Strategies for Families and Professionals: Carolyn Rodis, attorney, certified mediator, trainer, and teacher.
  • Health Care Options: Wanda Nelson-Raleigh, adult public guardianship director, Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Rebecca Dunlop, registered nurse, Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center.
  • Diabetes and Brain Health: Mary Ann Howell, registered nurse and certified diabetic educator, Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities.
  • Patient Perspective: Ethical Communication for the Professional: Marina Tompkins, Clinical Research Program coordinator, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.
  • Taking on the Role of Caring for Mom/Dad: Marjorie Cotterman, registered nurse, Somerford Place.
  • Taking on the Role of Caring for Your Spouse: Gene F. Ostrom, retired clinical psychologist, former caregiver of his wife, and author of “Sara’s Story and the Impact of Alzheimer’s: The Celebration of a Productive Life,” and “Vi’s Secret: A Family Story” as well as two other professional books.
  • Getting Involved in the Caregivers’ Cause: Kate Gordon, associate director, State Policy and Advocacy Programs at the Alzheimer’s Association.

The conference is sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities, Active Day of Annapolis Center, Active Day of Pasadena Center, Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Maryland Chapter, Generations of Anne Arundel County, Somerford Place of Annapolis, Gero-Resources LLC, Johns Hopkins Geriatric Education Center Consortium, and the Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing.

The $10 conference fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and materials. Social work CEUs are an additional $10. Nursing CNEs also can be awarded. Parking is free.

Free respite care will be provided at Active Day of Pasadena Center by calling 410-255-2879 or Active Day of Annapolis Center by calling 410-573-9100 by April 13. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Per the Dept. of Aging, consideration may be made for care after the 13th but please call ASAP)

Call the Department of Aging and Disabilities at 410-222-4464, Ext. 3045, for conference information or see For registration in advance, visit

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