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Alzheimer's Association Expands in Duluth

Updated: 07/30/2014 10:45 PM
Created: 07/30/2014 5:41 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson

As baby boomers age, the Alzheimer's Association said the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will escalate rapidly. That growth in diagnoses is part of the reason why the association's Minnesota-North Dakota chapter needs more space in Duluth to do their work.

"It's official, we have a home!" exclaimed Brenda Conley, the community engagement manager.

They also now have double the space. The Duluth Alzheimer's Association was bursting out of their office in the Marshall Professional building, so they made the move down to Canal Park and now occupy the Paulucci Building.

"We have more space and room to grow. Eventually, we will be able to add an additional program manager... we certainly have a need for that," said Conley.

Conley said in their new space, they have more room to store everything they need for their annual Walk to End Alzheimer's, more room to help families, and more visibility.

"It's a lot more visible than where we used to be. I feel like we are a much bigger part of the city," said Program Manager and social worker, Gwen Dezelske.

Dezelske works with those affected by Alzheimer's, preparing them for changes and helping make plans.

"People are really losing their memories over time and losing more of the personal aspect of their personalities. It's really tough to adjust for family members and definitely for the person dealing with the disease," she explained.

She said with five million people living with Alzheimer's in America, 100,000 of those can be found in Minnesota. She also said every American has a 15-percent chance of getting the disease in their lifetime, with their risk rapidly increasing with age.

Conley said that's why the association works around the nation, to help people gain awareness about the disease so when it impacts them they know where to go for help.

"Unfortunately, with Alzheimer's its the only one of the top ten diseases that there's no cure, treatment, or prevention for, yet. We're working to change that," she said.

This year's annual Walk to End Alzheimer's in Duluth is October 4.

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