Tuesday, May 12 marks the start of Governor Steve Bullock’s Conference on Aging. One of the features of the conference is a special ceremony honoring Montana centenarians. According to Montana Aging Services Bureau Chief Charlie Rehbein, the number of Montanans over 100-years-old is growing rapidly.

"[The number of centenarians is] growing and it will continue to grow steadily for probably the next ten to 15 years," Rehbein said. "We had ninety people that we got names for and stuff written about last year, this year we had 133. It's possible that we could have well over 1,000 in the next ten years."

This year’s conference on aging will focus on the issue of Alzheimer’s, a disease that damage memory and which is quickly becoming a major concern.

"Indications are that the number of people with Alzheimer's and related dementia will continue to grow," Rehbein said. "There could be as many as 27,000 in Montana in the next ten years, but there are things that can help."

One of the big projects that will be discussed in Helena over the next few days at the conference will be the design of a Montana State Plan for dealing with Alzheimer’s, a disease that can be extremely taxing on care providers.