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opinion Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. It is a time for all of us to become more aware of our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, employees and clients/customers who are living with Alzheimer's disease or related memory disorder. As of 2010, an estimated 98,000 in Minnesota, or one out of eight people 65 and older, are living with a memory disorder. In Crow Wing County alone, there are over 1,200. Based on demographic trends, those numbers are expected to triple by mid-century.

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In fall 2010, the lakes area hosted its second highly successful Memory Walk. Nearly 500 people participated in the Walk at Kiwanis Park and helped raise almost $60,000 to help people who are living with memory loss. The Walk was planned and organized by a dedicated group of volunteers from the area.

Many of these volunteers have joined together to form the Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates (LAMAA) - a group of professional dementia care providers and family members who seek to create dementia competent communities where memory loss/dementia is understood by all and resources are readily available to assist those who seek help.

LAMAA members will be available after Jan. 1, 2011, to speak about Alzheimer's and related disorders for civic and faith-based groups throughout the lakes area. Anyone interested in becoming involved in LAMAA or the Walk to End Alzheimer's can contact the Northern Minnesota office of the Alzheimer's Association at (218) 733.2560 or esther.gieschen@alzmndak.org.

The Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter offers help and hope for people living with Alzheimer's disease, their families and caregivers. Support, services, and information are available online at www.alz.org/mnnd or by calling the Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Information Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

Esther Gieschen

Northern Regional Center Director

Alzheimer's Association MN-ND

Duluth

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