Despite social distancing, commitment to caregivers of those with memory loss remains strong


According to the 2020 Alzheimer’s Association facts and figures released in March, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

While it's important to provide support to these caregivers, the challenge of COVID-19 has put traditional ways of offering support, such as support groups and Memory Cafes, on hold.

However, local agencies, as well as the Alzheimer’s Association and the Central MN Council on Aging, remain committed to finding ways to offer support for caregivers.

  • The Alzheimer’s Association offers 24/7 care and support by calling 1-800-272-3900. There website offers virtual support groups and trainings. Some local groups are offering virtual or phone conference support groups. Visit for more information.
  • Powerful Tools for Caregivers is offering virtual classes through Microsoft teams. To register, contact Mary Smith at 218-203-7312.
  • Help Older Adults website has been launched and offers numerous resources for older adults in Minnesota. This website can be found at There are links for free virtual trainings coming up this month.
  • The Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates were set to host their 10th annual educational forum on dementia in May. However, this event has been postponed to Oct. 13. This event is free for the public and will feature Erin Bonitto as the keynote speaker. Visit for more information.

It’s important to remember that caregivers often feel overwhelmed, but during times of isolation and disconnection, this could increase. Check in on those around you via phone or email to make sure they are doing OK. This is the time to take care of neighbors while maintaining social distancing.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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