‘Normal Aging or Dementia?’ program at Roseville Library

Among the greatest fears of many older people is developing Alzheimer’s or a similar dementia disease.

For some, the concern is so great that if they begin to forget names, misplace keys or miss appointments, they don’t tell their doctor for fear of a dementia diagnosis. Sometimes a relative will “cover” for that person’s lapses, not wanting others to see potential symptoms of dementia.

“In fact, dementia symptoms could be caused by many other things that may be treatable — drug interactions, dehydration, lack of sleep, depression, hearing loss and many others,” said Carolyn Klaver. She is a registered nurse and community dementia care specialist at Lyngblomsten, a housing and services provider for area older residents.

Klaver will be the main presenter at a program called “Normal Aging or Dementia?” from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. N. It is part of a monthly series called Dementia: Caring & Coping, sponsored by the Roseville Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team (Roseville A/D), the library and the City of Roseville.

Speakers will describe symptoms and signs of dementia diseases and how to tell the difference between dementia and normal aging, as well as the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis.

Other presenters will be Dr. Jennifer Oligmueller, a psychiatric resident at Regions Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center and a specialist on depression; and Anne Tabat, who will talk about her mother’s experience with delirium. Both depression and delirium are treatable, and both can occur with dementia or be mistaken for dementia.

“If you or a loved one get a diagnosis of some sort of dementia, that can help you prepare better for the future,” Klaver said. “But sometimes, forgetting your keys is just forgetting your keys — in other words, something we all do sometimes.”

Klaver works with the 2nd Half at Lyngblomsten program, which seeks to help area residents age well at home through community services, classes, volunteer opportunities and other programs at two sites in White Bear Lake and the Como Park area of St. Paul.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a cluster of brain diseases that affect memory, problem solving, thinking and other life functions. There is no known cure. An estimated 95,000 Minnesotans have a dementia disease, with about 254,000 relatives and friends who care for them. In Roseville, an estimated 750 people have dementia, about 110 of them living alone.

A number of research projects by AARP and other groups has found growing concern about dementia among older people, many of whom have friends or family members affected by the condition. One study found that among people 50 and older, two thirds said they were worried about developing dementia, while just 10 percent worried about getting cancer and 4 percent worried about developing a heart condition.

The Caring & Coping series will continue on March 14 at the library with a program called “How to Pay for Care: Leveraging Benefits and Assets.” It will examine how to plan for long-term care, including the benefits and costs of various types of public and private pay.

For more information about the series and Roseville A/D, go to www.cityofroseville.com/dementiainfo.


—Warren Wolfe is a Roseville resident who retired from the Star Tribune, where he reported on aging and health policy issues. He also is active in Roseville A/D.

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