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Holidays can help those with memory loss: El Paso experts speak about inclusive Christmas

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The holiday season brings many families together, and the Alzheimer's Association of West Texas says it's a great opportunity for those with memory challenges to reconnected with friends and loved ones.

Older and younger generations meet and chat during the holidays, and this can be a key time to make new memories -- by sparking old ones. Alzheimer's experts tell ABC-7 that the common traditions of Christmas can spark memories and feelings of connectedness for those with memory loss.

Alzheimer's and dementia are major concerns in the Borderland area, and experts hope that this holiday season will be a chance to grow together -- while treating memory loss with respect.

El Paso is one of the top 10 counties in the nation where populations are at high-risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease, according to research conducted by the Alzheimer's Association.

Further, researchers believe that the number of Alzheimer's cases will probably increase across the Southwest in the future -- due to genetic risks within the population. 

The National Institute on Aging defines Alzheimer's as a bran disorder which destroys memory, which progressively gets worse. Most develop Alzheimer's in their 60s, but some symptoms can show up in their 30s. It is the most common cause of dementia.

The Association believes that more than 16,000 people in El Paso alone are living with some form of Alzheimer's. One of the top counties in the nation for Alzheimer's cases. Hispanic and Black Americans are at higher risk, according to research conducted by the Alzheimer's Association.

The researchers hope that this data can help bring better funding, staffing numbers and resources to areas of the country struggling with Alzheimer's prevalence. 

You can find more on this topic in ABC-7's previous reporting on national findings about El Paso and memory challenges.

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful

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