At Country Meadows, we are grateful to our country’s veterans for their service, as well as their family members who kept the home fires burning. Today, more than 450,000 American veterans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. As the population continues to age, that number is expected to increase by 8.4% in 2033 to nearly half a million veterans living with dementia. For these brave individuals, finding memory care help can be challenging. It’s important to reach out and explore available options to find beneficial resources.
Veterans Affairs (VA) services
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs offers a range of support services for veterans, including those living with dementia. Contact the local VA medical center or visit their website to explore available programs, benefits and resources specifically designed to provide memory care help.
VA memory care services
Some VA medical centers offer specialized units or clinics dedicated to addressing the needs of veterans with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. These programs may include diagnosis, treatment, support and counseling.
Veterans service organizations
Organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) may offer support, guidance and connections to resources for veterans with dementia, such as adult day care, respite care, transportation assistance and recreational activities.
Local Alzheimer’s and dementia support groups
Many senior living centers, including Country Meadows Retirement Communities, have local support groups specifically for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia as well as their caregivers and family members. These groups offer opportunities to connect with others in similar situations to discuss the challenges involved in memory loss.
Financial assistance and benefits
Veterans may be eligible for specific benefits and financial assistance through the VA including Aid and Attendance benefits, pensions and other programs that can help cover the costs of memory care help. Country Meadows’ online resource center can provide financial guidance for all seniors, including veterans.
Aid and Attendance is a pension benefit available through the VA for wartime veterans and their spouses who have limited income and are in need of hands-on care in everyday living such as bathing, dressing, ambulating, nursing services, etc. Contact the VA for information on how to apply for this generous benefit that helps pay for senior care including memory care help.
Unique considerations when providing memory care help to veterans
Our life experiences deeply affect how dementia manifests itself in each individual. Veterans, particularly those with wartime experiences, may find themselves reliving their service years and the feelings associated with those experiences, stuck in their worst days.
Providing dementia care for veterans often involves addressing unique considerations and needs given their life experiences and potential challenges resulting from their service.
Understanding military experience
Professionals providing memory care help for veterans recognize and acknowledge the unique experiences, traumas and challenges former soldiers may have faced. Sensitivity to these experiences is crucial in providing care that respects their background.
Creating an environment that fosters a sense of camaraderie among veterans can be highly beneficial. Veterans often find comfort and support in connecting with others who have shared similar experiences. Group activities that honor their military service can be helpful in building connections.
Veterans can benefit from specific therapies tailored to address issues related to each person’s military service, such as trauma-focused therapies, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatments or therapies aimed at dealing with combat-related experiences. Memory care help for veterans should include staff specially trained in handling and addressing trauma-related issues with sensitivity and expertise.
Respecting military culture and routines
Understanding military culture, including protocols, terminology and symbols, can be crucial for establishing a supportive and respectful environment for veterans in memory care. Some veterans may be accustomed to military routines. Activities that echo these schedules may provide comfort and familiarity.
Recognizing and celebrating service
Acknowledging veterans’ service through events, recognition and activities that honor their contributions can be beneficial for their morale and sense of identity.
Country Meadows Retirement Communities offers memory care help on its nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Md. For information about memory support services at any of our locations, or to ask a question, please reach out to our expert advisors. We’re here to help!