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Support Program for Mainers With Alzheimer's Expands

SCARBOROUGH, Maine - A popular support program for those beginning their battle with dementia is now available for the first time in the state's three biggest communities.

Until now, the Early Stage Support Program from the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has only been available in Portland. Now, newly diagnosed residents in Lewiston and Bangor can get the free help and support.

The association's Adam Lacher says with more Mainers aging into Alzheimer's, it was clear that the educational program needed to expand to new communities. "It turns out there was very high demand. Those programs filled up immediately."

But Lacher says candidates can put their names on a list for future sessions. Participants undergo twice monthly classes for a five-month period, learning about aspects of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, including what to expect, how to cope, and learning about the care that will be needed.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., says Lacher, but the only one in the top 10 for which no treatment options are currently available.

Some 26,000 Mainers are living with dementia, a number expected to rise 35 percent by 2025.