Whether it’s a family member or friend, senior veterans are in need of support and care as they age and their health deteriorates. Statistics show that one in three senior veterans have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and those who experience PTSD are twice as likely to develop dementia than those without. With such staggering statistics, it is important that veterans and their caregivers know how to get help and support.
Veterans suffering PTSD can still be haunted by the nightmarish memories from half a century ago. It is important to identify PTSD in seniors in order to find the proper assistance and help. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, some signs of PTSD include:
- Emotional distress
- Trouble maintaining close relationships
- Mood changes
- Hopelessness about the future
For many veterans, these symptoms become worse as they age, because they no longer have as much happening in their lives to keep them distracted. Stress from losing a loved one, decrease of finances and declining health also triggers PTSD to surface. If your senior veteran suffers PTSD issues and is showing signs of dementia, here are some essential resources and ways of helping them cope.
Research VA Benefits
Caring for a senior with PTSD and dementia can be costly. AARP estimates that it costs approximately $56,800 a year to care for someone with the disease. As a veteran, there are numerous benefits available through the VA. Wartime veterans aged 65 and older may be eligible for financial and assistance. Contact your local VA office to learn more about qualifications and benefits.
Recent studies show a link between eating healthy foods and lessening the symptoms of PTSD. Your loved one needs a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, high protein foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables and Omega-3 fatty acids to help ward away depression and anxiety.
Mental and Social Stimulation
All seniors need mental and social stimulation in order to thrive and be happy, and senior vets are no different. Keeping your loved one active and engaged will help them stay active and beat loneliness. Mental stimulation activates the brain–keeping it sharp, providing long-term benefits on senior’s thinking and reasoning skills, as well as their memory.
A Supportive Environment
It is most important that senior veterans are in a supportive environment. While some senior vets are able to live at home with loved ones, others need constant medical care. There are assisted living communities, like Unlimited Care Cottages, that offer constant and loving support, memory care, and an upbeat social environment–all the things your senior veteran needs to thrive and be well.
Caring for a Senior Veteran
Veterans pledge their service to our country and all of us, and in return, we need to do what we can to take care of senior veterans as they struggle in their later years. Connect with a senior by having some tea and conversation with them, or give them a ride to the store or to the doctor. With loving support, mental and social stimulation and a healthy diet, senior veterans can maintain a purpose in life and boost their emotional well-being.
To learn more about how you can help care and support your senior veteran, Contact Us.