D-CAN 2024 Fall Caregivers’ Conference

Struggling with the peaks and valleys of caring for a loved one living with dementia? Learn how to navigate common (and not-so-common) challenges dementia caregivers face. Attend in-person or virtually. Boxed lunches and snacks are provided for in-person attendees.

Thursday, October 24, 2024

8 AM – 2:00 PM

Location (In-person & Online):
The Regency in St. Cloud, MN & Virtually Online through Zoom

(A Zoom link will be emailed to registered attendees about 3 days before the event.)

Ticket Cost:

$10.00 (plus fees)

(If you have a financial burden and are unable to pay for a ticket, please contact us.)

Conference Schedule

Exhibitor Hall & Free Screenings

8 – 9 am Exhibit Hall Open & Free Health Screenings

Opening & Session I:

9-9:15 am: Dr. Zook
9:15-10:15 am: Understanding Behaviors & How to Communicate

Session II & Break

10:15-11 am: Stages of Caregiving & Anticipatory Grief
11-11:15 am: break

Session III:

11:15 am -12 pm: What is Respite? 

Session IV:

12-12:45 pm: Panel

Lunch & Screenings/Exhibitors

12:45 pm Boxed Lunches
1-2 pm Screenings and exhibitors


Need respite for your loved one living with dementia so you can attend the conference? Respite services are available onsite at the conference from 9 am-1 pm. Please contact our office for more information at (320)640-6726.

Free Health Screenings

Screenings will be provided by:
  • DRCC – Cognitive Screening
  • St. Cloud St. Nursing Students – Hearing Screening
  • Williams IntegraCare – Blood Pressure Screening
  • Whitney Senior Center – Social Isolation Screening, Diabetes Screening

Meet the Speakers

Dr Zook

Dr. Patrick Zook, MD – Moderator

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and medically trained at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Zook and his wife, Penny have lived in St. Cloud since 1977. As a family physician there for over 40 years, he has seen and learned a lot from the great relationships he was privileged to enjoy with his family, patients, colleagues, and neighbors. These relationships and his own family’s dementia story with both his parents have instilled in him a passion to make sure that our community’s dementia care system provides the best care for our older adults living with dementia and for their families. His brother, sisters and he lived with the gaps in care that still exist today, but our community now has the power and talent to change that kind of story with our Central Minnesota Dementia Community Action Network (D-CAN) nonprofit. Our mission is to improve access to quality dementia care in our community. With the resounding community support we have felt so far, he is now very optimistic about our prospects for transformation to a better, more hopeful model of community dementia care that we have been working on for the past few years.

Dr Zook

Cristina Rodriguez, CDP, CADDCT

Cristina has worked and advocated for those living with dementia and their care partners for over 20 years in care planning, socialization, education, and consulting. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner, and a Certified Validation Associate, as well as a Dementia Champion of Minnesota. She is currently a local Dementia Support Group Facilitator. She was involved for over 10 years the Co-chair for the St. Cloud Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s for two years. Cristina has sat on many local Alzheimer’s and Dementia related community boards. She has a personal connection with dementia, as a current professional caregiver and family caregiver for her grandmother that is living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jess Behrends

Jessica M Behrends

Jess Behrends is the Caregiver Support Program Manager at the Saint Cloud VA in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the State of Minnesota and has been with VA’s Caregiver Support Program for 12 years.

Jess completed her undergraduate coursework at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN before attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn her Master of Science in Social Work. Jess started at the St. Cloud VA in 2010 in the facility’s Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program. In 2012, she became the facility’s first Caregiver Support Coordinator in support of this new VA initiative. When the program grew from one clinician to thirteen dedicated staff following the MISSION Act expansion in 2020, Jess accepted the position of facility Caregiver Support Program Manager to continue leading these efforts.

Jess was the recipient of the VA’s Care Management and Social Work “Exceptional Caregiver Support Coordinator” award in 2016 and the St. Cloud VA’s “Clinical Excellence Award” in 2023. She served as the national VA Caregiver Support Program Leadership Council as chair-elect and council chair from 2018-2020 and since that time has dedicated her time to significant program expansion and developing innovative services for caregivers at the local facility level.

Event Parking

Two Parking Options Available:
There are 25 dedicated parking spots available behind The Regency.

In addition, you may also park in St. Mary’s Cathedral parking lot. We have obtained a parking permit for the St. Mary’s lot for the day of the event. We will have volunteers in the parking lot to help direct you. If you use these parking areas, you will enter the back entrance of The Regency. You will come in on B-Level, and will need to take the elevator up to Level 1. Signage will direct you to the event room. Please stop by the Registration desk to check in for the event.

Become an Exhibitor

Dementia-related service/product providers are welcome to exhibit at the conference. Learn more about exhibiting at the link below. 

Become a Sponsor

Be part of educating our community on caregiver health and wellness. Learn more about being a sponsor for the conference.

Funding Support for the Fall Caregivers’ Conference Provided By

Minnesota Board of Aging

Don’t miss this event devoted to caregivers!

Central MN Dementia Community Action Network

3701 12th Street North, Suite 103
St. Cloud, MN 56303

Call: (320) 640-6726
Fax: (320) 774-1238
Hours: by appointment only

All content on this website is intended to be informational only and does not create a patient-client relationship and does not intend to constitute medical advice.