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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

How to Communicate During the Early Stages of Dementia

Published in Senior Living, Senior Services, For the Health of It Author: Jessalyn Middendorf, LPN, MBA, MPH, CentraCare – St. Cloud Benedict Court and Benedict Homes Director

The announcement by legendary singer Tony Bennett that he has Alzheimer’s has helped to raise awareness of dementia, which affects 50 million people throughout the world.

Early detection is important. There are differences between Alzheimer’s and typical age-related changes. Learn about the 10 warning signs and symptoms such as disruptive memory loss, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, or withdrawal from work or social activities. Recognition of any of them should not be ignored. Rather, schedule an appointment to discuss with your doctor. There are treatment options to explore that may help alleviate symptoms as well as maintaining a longer period of independence.

Getting diagnosed with dementia is scary for the patients and their families. In the early stage of dementia, an individual is still able to participate in give-and-take dialogue, have meaningful conversations and engage in social activities. However, he or she may repeat stories, have difficulty finding the right word or feel overwhelmed by excessive stimulation.

Tips for successful communication:

  • Don’t make assumptions about a person’s ability to communicate because of a dementia diagnosis. The disease affects each person differently.
  • Don’t exclude the person from conversations with family and friends.
  • Speak directly to the person if you want to know how he or she is doing.
  • Take time to listen to how the person is feeling, what he or she is thinking and what his or her needs are.
  • Give the person time to respond. Don’t interrupt or finish sentences.
  • Talk with the person about what he or she is still comfortable doing and what they may need help with.
  • Explore which method of communication is most comfortable for the person. This could include email, phone calls or in-person conversations.

It’s OK to laugh. Sometimes humor lightens the mood and makes communication easier.

Seek out help and support — both for those diagnosed with dementia as well as their loved ones. There are national and local resources to provide information, guidance, and connection to others who are also facing a similar situation.