BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Finding hope through early detection, education and research.

That’s the goal of a multi-day conference about Alzheimer’s and Dementia and how these diseases impact the African American community.

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“Our memories are what connects us to our family and friends,” said Ernestine Jolivet.

And unfortunately, memory is what’s impacted when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Ernestine Jolivet is all too familiar with the disease. Both of her parents had dementia and that’s what motivated her to get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association.

“We want to encourage people to do what they can now, be proactive, to make sure they have the best quality of time with their loved ones, but while they’re doing that take care of themselves as well,” said Jolivet.

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Her service is evident in the numerous awards she proudly displays in her home and in honor of her parents, she created the Pythias and Virginia Jones African American Community Forum on memory loss.

It focuses on how these diseases impact black and brown communities and the services available to support patients and their families.

“Right now, especially due to COVID, it’s really hard for people to receive information. Having this virtual format, this virtual platform, allows the Alzheimer’s Association, the Jones family to get that information out to the community,” said Marlyn Taylor, Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager, Alzheimer’s Association.

The three upcoming sessions focus on communities of color and clinical trials, caregiving challenges and resources and how to promote brain health through diet and exercise.

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“My parents felt if there’s a problem you need to be a part of the solution. So, we wanted to start the conversation and keep it going,” said Jolivet.

Rachel Menitoff