The American Public Health Association’s annual meeting is taking place this week in San Francisco, with the theme of “Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span.” If you’re not there (or if you’re there but can’t possibly attend all the sessions you want to), the APHA Meeting Blog is a great way to get a taste of the research and ideas being discussed.

Among the annual meeting bloggers is Kim Krisberg, a regular Pump Handle contributor. She covered the meeting’s opening session, which featured APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, UnitedHealth’s Reed Tuckson, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, APHA President Melvin Shipp, US Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, and Passages author Gail Sheehy. As the keynote speaker, Sheehy focused on the challenges and opportunities of longer lifespans. Kim reports on one of Sheehy’s key messages:

But even though the many transitions in people’s lives represent such great opportunity, [Sheehy] said we’re also facing two great emergencies: the stress and lack of support for caregivers and the epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease. In regard to caregiving, she said it’s critical that caregivers have a network of support, noting that every family member who develops Alzheimer’s will cost somebody $1 million. Talking about Alzheimer’s, she said that while the wave of the future is nonpharmacological treatment, the epidemic isn’t going to be solved by treadmills and crossword puzzles — it’ll be solved in the lab. And we need to advocate as loudly as HIV advocates did to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Other post on the APHA Meeting Blog report on some of the many scientific session presentations, whose topics include the health benefits of dog walking, health standards for school lunches and snacks, occupational hazards for low-wage workers, and health on the US-Mexico border. Bloggers also highlighted some of the pre-meeting activities, including volunteering with local organizations by members of the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section and the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2012 National Safety and Health Policy Summit. APHA’s Storify page has stories for each day, featuring photos and tweets from meeting staff and attendees.