Local Organization Works To Increase Dementia Awareness In The Brainerd Lakes Area
In the United States, there are currently 5.8 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. By the year 2050, this number is projected to double.
“About 10 years ago, they recognized that this was going to be really nearing epidemic proportions by 2020/2025. We’re recognizing that this is a growing occurrence,” said Amanda Mithun, Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates Chair.
An organization in the Brainerd Lakes Area is working to educate the community on the rapidly growing disease.
“LAMAA [Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates] is a nonprofit organization in the Brainerd Lakes Area and it’s made up of a bunch of different volunteers, both professional and and non-professional, that come together once a month to really talk about how we can make the Brainerd Lakes Area more dementia friendly,” explained Mithun.
LAMAA was founded 10 years ago when a group of individuals to work to combat the lack of dementia awareness in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
“It started with us recognizing that the public doesn’t know what to do with dementia. We just saw the need. There was a need for it and that’s how it started,” said LouAnn Owens, Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates Treasurer and founding member.
LAMAA works to educate the community in a variety of ways, from support groups and classes to an annual educational forum.
“Our long-term goal would be to keep growing for sure and to make this community dementia aware, not to be afraid of dementia, and have people know it’s nothing that they have to fear,” added Owens.
Many members of LAMAA work in health care or elder care, but they all see the every day effects that dementia can have.
“It offers people who feel like, “What can I do to help?” “What can I do for this illness?” It’s an opportunity to get together and recognize that we can be advocates,” said Mithun. “Because that’s right in our name.”
LAMAA hopes to keep growing in the future and furthering the group’s mission.
“It’s so important to just not be afraid to talk about it but to get out there, reach out to other people and get some information,” Mithun said. “And just know that you’re not alone.”
The Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates are holding their annual community forum on May 14, 2019 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa. The event is free and open to the public.