Prairie Five Live Well Age Wisely: Dementia


By Laura Thomas, Director of Aging Well at Prairie Five Community Action Council

I read a news article out of the Twin Cities a couple of weeks ago that described where dementia was most prevalent in the state. The reporter was absolutely shocked that the metro didn’t have the highest rates but rather that outstate Minnesota, particularly the southwestern region, had the highest occurrence.

It’s no surprise- the biggest risk factor for dementia is age and of the five counties Prairie Five serves, two have a median age of 50 (whereas the state’s median is 37.8.) Almost all of us have been touched by memory loss either professionally or personally.

In the upcoming months, three communities in Prairie Five’s service area will be hosting a special guest speaker who will share his expertise on Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Joseph Gaugler is the Robert L Kane Endowed Chair in Long-Term Care and Aging and he’s also a professor at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on the best way to support families and professionals who care for persons with memory loss.

He aims to improve the health and well-being of people who care for those with dementia through innovative programs and technologies. The name of his presentation is Alzheimer's Disease: What it is and what can be done and will be the same at each location.

On Saturday, September 16th, he’ll be presenting in Clinton and Benson. On Thursday, November 2nd, he’ll be in Montevideo. All events are free of charge.

The Clinton presentation is 10:00-11:30am at the Clinton Memorial Building at 111 Main Street. It takes place within a larger event hosted by the Big Stone Area Memory Loss Connection group called A Run to Remember…and so much more.

Runners from the county’s cross-country teams will participate in a run that begins at 9:30. There will be refreshments, resources and giveaways from area organizations after Dr. Gaugler’s presentation.

This will also be a great time to learn more about the wonderful Memory Café that takes place at the Ortonville Public Library the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 1-3pm! It’s a special place.

The Benson presentation will be 2:00-3:30pm in the Fireside Lounge at Scandi Haven Village at 1710 McKinney Avenue. Members of the Benson Area Memory Loss Network will be on hand with resources they offer and great information from the Alzheimer's Association.

This group has an exciting initiative in the works that they will announce in early fall so stay tuned! Last year’s radio series called Shining a Light on Memory Loss featured local area experts and all six episodes continue to be offered on demand at

The Montevideo presentation will be hosted by the Montevideo Area Memory Loss Network and will begin at 5:30pm with a light meal served at 5pm. It will be held at the CCM Wellness Center at 1409 MN Highway 7.

Members of the group will have resources available and be on hand to connect with how they may help along the memory loss journey. This group is well-known for bringing dementia speakers and other educational events to our area so be sure to like their Facebook page for updates on who’s coming next.

If you have questions about Dr. Gaugler’s presentation content, they can be directed to Ashley Millenbah at . If email isn’t your thing, I’d be happy to reach out on your behalf, just give me a call at 320-226-8861. If you are curious about any of the Memory Loss Network groups in our area or would like to join, I’d love to help you get connected.