BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — June marks Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 15,000 people 65 and older are living with the disease in North Dakota.

About one in three seniors die from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes the loss of memories and thinking skills.

A new memory clinic opened in April in Bismarck, and it’s a first of its kind in our area that aims to help those with memory loss issues.

Clarity Mind & Memory Clinic wishes to help those who suffer from memory loss issues and help them live the best life they can.

“After working many years in health care and just realizing that there was a need in the community for people that are struggling with their memory loss and families looking for their assistance at home,” said Julie Tanous, nurse practitioner and co-owner of Clarity Mind & Memory Clinic. “There are a lot of community resources, but yet people didn’t know how to get ahold of them or get in touch with them. So, we decided to open our own memory clinic.”

The clinic offers many different varieties of care for its patients. They have cognitive screening testing that helps determine if memory changes are due to aging or if there is another underlying cause. Once the issue is addressed, the clinic collaborates with providers and community resources to help along the process.

Tanous talked about some signs that may show when you’re having a lapse of memory.

“Maybe just putting things in the wrong places at home, forgetting appointments, repeating stories. Sometimes those are the first signs that families are aware of,” Tanous explained.

Not only do they help educate their patient, but they also help the families know that they are not alone.

“We like to educate patients and families on the course of the disease and what the future may hold, and just let them know that just because they’re diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, that doesn’t mean their life is over. Life can go on and it can be very enjoyable,” said Corinna Glatt, Clarity Mind & Memory Clinic nurse practitioner and co-owner.

“There are things we can do. There are devices we can use. So that they will have the best life possible for as long as possible,” said Glatt.

Glatt discussed what activities we can do in order to help prevent memory loss and strengthen your brain:

“Your brain is a muscle, and it’s important to remember to exercise it. There’s different things you can do to exercise your brain. Learning something new every day, doing crossword puzzles, lifelong learning courses, or learning a new language. There’s many things you can do to exercise your brain,” explained Glatt.

Glatt said that identifying the problem early is important. She said that exercise and diet modification are the best ways to slow down the progression of the memory loss disease.

Other ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss diseases are to quit smoking, catch a good amount of sleep every night, maintain a regular schedule and take care of your mental health.