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June is Alzheimer's and brain awareness month

veteran in wheelchair

The VA holds the standards of Effective, Safe, Timely, and Veteran-Centered Care—anticipating and responding to Veterans' and their caregivers' preferences, needs and ensures that Veterans have input into clinical decisions.

Our commitment to least restrictive means for treatment, allows opportunity to recognize an intersection of managing dementia symptoms using integrative approaches to care.  Integrative medicine combines what is known about exercise, diet, using pleasant aromas, mindfulness, the importance of family and socializing, all to soothe the body and mind.

Dementia is a progressive brain disorder with no known cure.  As the brain changes during disease process, challenging behaviors may appear.  Every brain is different, and symptoms may be as well.  To ease these changes of progression and disease, offering pleasant and relaxing activities incorporating various techniques into our Veterans lives, offers potential to increase well-being and reduce distress.  We include purpose with hope of potential behavioral interventions and strengths for the Veteran interventions to manage anxiety, irritability, anger, and depression.   

We incorporate other modalities listed in integrative and wholistic approaches including encouraging movement, restful sleep, offering a pleasing activity of music, gentle touch, dimming lights and limiting loud sounds.  Self-care practices apply to all Veterans and their care givers.  As we embark on incorporating Music and Memory here at the Sioux Falls VA, we are excited to bring preferred music genres to our Veterans of the Community Living Centers.

Integrative approaches used for dementia care are recommended for Veterans and caregivers alike, in alliance with the Veteran Health Administration’s Whole Health.   


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For caregivers of Veterans diagnosed with dementia, please visit

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