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Dementia Takes Center Stage in MN This Weekend

The number of people with dementia will more than double by 2060. (Virginia Carter)
The number of people with dementia will more than double by 2060. (Virginia Carter)
March 2, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Midwest's largest meeting on dementia is happening this weekend.

On Saturday, the Mayo Clinic and Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Alzheimer's Association are hosting the "Meeting of the Minds Dementia Conference" in St. Paul. It will feature sessions and exhibits from experts in the field of dementia research.

Kendra Binger, program manager in the Fargo office of the Alzheimer's Association chapter, has a presentation on how people can reduce the risk factors for dementia through a healthy lifestyle.

"Looking at things like life long learning, exercising, challenging your mind, staying socially connected as we get older,” she says. “Doing all of those things won't prevent Alzheimer's from occurring, but the symptoms may not be as severe or as apparent as early as they would have."

The number of people with Alzheimer's symptoms is expected to skyrocket in the coming decades. According to a UCLA study, this population will more than double by 2060.

Binger says her association has set up an extensive network to help people with dementia, as well as their caregivers.

New to the conference this year is a technology lab. Binger says it will feature some of the innovative ways technology can help people with dementia, such as devices that make cell phones easier to use and can turn off a stove if it's been left on for too long.

"Technology for people living with dementia is becoming a bigger piece of the conversation, because that can really help that person living with the disease, as well as caregivers, keep them at home longer and at home safer" says Binger.

The conference will also feature a keynote speech from former football player Ben Utecht on concussions and their effect on the brain.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN