Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It has its roots in the days shortly after the Civil War, the war that cost more American lives than any war in history. Originally called "Decoration Day," “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land" (May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan).

For many dementia and Alzheimer patients, this day may or may not mean anything. Survivors of World War II are few and are slipping away, as are their memories and the culture's memories of their sacrifice. Every generation has its warriors, and they deserve at least a moment's notice and recognition for their place in America’s history.

Many veterans and family members of deceased military personnel are living in care facilities and are often forgotten. Although the purpose of Memorial Day is to honor those who have fallen in war, we cannot neglect those brave men and women who served and are still with us.

Sadly, during this time of fear and isolation, it is nearly impossible to visit those we love who are in care facilities. Celebrations have been canceled or postponed, and many of us have the day off but nowhere to go. However, there are still ways to honor our military heroes, past and present.

Each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m., local time. A simple moment of silence is appropriate. Thanks to modern technology, we can usually connect with others, even in care facilities, via phone and internet connections, such as Zoom, Skype, and others. And you know, old-fashioned cards and letters still stir the heart!

Perhaps your honored loved one may want to share memories of their experiences, good and bad. Perhaps they won’t remember or cannot connect. No matter; either way, you’ve expressed your love and pride.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, even if not everyone remembers or understands. Take time to salute those who can no longer return that salute.

South Mountain Memory Care focuses on high-quality, personalized care. The brand-new building is a stand-alone memory care community, meaning that the entire building, staff, and programs, are designed to serve residents with cognitive issues. To ensure person-centered care and attention, we have accommodations for up to 28 residents. The building is divided into two neighborhoods (wings), each offering 10 private suites and 2 semi-private suites. South Mountain Memory Care is located in the Allentown suburb of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and is easily accessible from the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. For more information, go to http://www.southmountainmemorycare.com/.

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