According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, one out of three seniors dies from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia; however, veterans who experienced brain trauma during their time in service are at a greater risk of developing the disease and thus need dementia care or related services.
In fact, according to the American Journal of Neurology, older veterans who experienced traumatic brain injury was associated with a 60% increase in the risk of developing dementia. IT should be noted that traumatic brain injury is a common problem among military personnel. On a similar note, veterans who were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were at a nearly two-fold-higher risk of developing dementia than those without PTSD.
Obviously, veterans are at a higher risk of dementia than other individuals. Because of the increased risk factors, it is important for veterans and their loved ones to know how they can protect themselves when faced with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
Dementia Care and Veterans
As humans age, many will experience bouts of forgetfulness and confusion, many call these “senior moments”. It is important to be able to tell the difference between a senior moment and a sign of Alzheimer’s. If the forgetfulness or confusion is continually getting in the way of day-to-day life, it may be a sign that it is more serious that just a senior moment.
Alzheimer’s and dementia in general is a term for disorders that involves a decline in memory, thinking, judgement, and learning ability.
Dementia can cause major problems, making it difficult, even impossible, to live independently, especially as the disease progresses to more advanced stages. However, caregivers and assisted living facilities can provide patients with the type of care that they need to live healthy and safely late in life.
Depending on the situation, the individual with Alzheimer’s may require help with daily life that could include daily grooming, eating, bathing, and getting through other daily tasks. Family members, loved ones, and caregivers need to learn and understand this. They also may require help with problem behaviors such as agitation and aggression.
No two cases of dementia are the same, many people may have dementia but symptoms can vary greatly. The variations in symptoms of dementia impact what type of care will be required for the individual.
Dementia and memory care can be a very debilitating disease and is progressive, meaning it gets worse as time goes on. As one could probably guess, caring for someone with this type of problem is time-consuming and can cost a lot. According to the AARP, it can cost over $56,000 to care for someone with the disease. However, veterans can be eligible for certain benefits through the VA which can include home-based care, nursing home services and more.
One specific option that senior veterans have for in-home care is the Aid & Attendance and Housebound Pension Program. Essentially, this program offers veterans additional monetary payments if they require the aid and attendance of another person, such as a caregiver.
You may eligible to receive an increased monthly pension from the VA if you meet one of the following conditions:
- Require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- You have limited eyesight
You can learn more about what the program has to offer here.
There are currently no cures and not much to be done to prevent the onset of dementia. But, it should be noted that there may be some evidence that Vitamin E consumption can be effective in delaying cognitive function decline. A five-year study that looked into the effects of Vitamin E on Alzheimer’s found that the vitamin added about six months of better cognitive function for patients with the disease.
While there is nothing that can be done to completely prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, there are things that you can do to help promote a healthy brain. For example, exercise is one of the best things that can be done for both mental and physical health. Likewise, implementing a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients can help to keep brain function and body functions working properly.
It is also a good idea to stay mentally stimulated later in life. Participating in things like games and puzzles can help keep your brain healthy. Similarly, staying active socially later in life can go a long way to keeping you healthy and happy. Not only will social events and activities keep you excited about upcoming events, they can also keep the brain active and interested.
There is strong evidence that veterans run an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. There have been studies that have shown that veterans who have suffered from traumatic brain injury are more than 60% more likely to deal with dementia. Luckily, there are some programs through the VA department that can provide veterans with an increased monthly payments if they meet a certain criteria which can help them pay for a caregiver or assisted living facility.
At Landmark Senior Living, we offer patients access to state-of-the-art facilities that are staffed by dedicated and caring individuals that provide medical attention when necessary. Similarly, our facilities offer memory and dementia care for patients who are dealing with some type of memory disorder, such as Alzheimer’s. Along with these health benefits, our staff also provides patients with access to social event and activities to help keep them happy and spry during this next chapter of their lives. If you would like more information about our facilities or would like a complimentary walkthrough, please visit our website today.