Independence Day: Support for Veterans with Alzheimer’s

This Independence Day, as we celebrate the birth of our nation, we’re also taking time to recognize the veterans and service members in our community who have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia over the civilian population.

Emerging research shows that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and even minor neurotrauma associated with military service all significantly increase the risk of developing dementia.[1] Studies indicate that individuals diagnosed with PTSD, one of the most common findings in veterans returning from combat, are almost twice as likely to develop dementia when compared to individuals without a PTSD diagnosis.[2] Research has also linked moderate and severe TBI to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, even years after the original head injury occurred.[3]

To address these growing issues in the military and veteran population, the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter formed the Alzheimer’s Military Task Force, a strategic community partnership between the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton VA Medical Center, and the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, with funding provided by the Wright-Patt Credit Union Sunshine Community Fund.

The Alzheimer’s Military Task Force conducts broad-ranging initiatives focused on sustainable and coordinated efforts for the region that include dementia awareness and education within the respective organizations and externally with the public, memory screenings and cognitive impairment assessments, and referrals for diagnosis, as well as support services and information for those diagnosed with dementia and their families.

The Alzheimer’s Military Task Force focuses on the importance of early detection of Alzheimer’s and dementia in military members and veterans. This is because an early diagnosis enables those facing the disease to receive the maximum benefit from available treatment and maintain a level of independence for a longer period of time. An early diagnosis gives individuals with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia time to access resources and education about the disease, making it possible for them to have a more active and involved role in decision-making regarding their future care plan and treatment than they would have otherwise.

Are you a veteran or military member experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s? Or, do you have a loved one who is facing Alzheimer’s?

We’re here to help you. Call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline anytime day or night for reliable information and support: 1.800.272.3900.

To learn more about the new Alzheimer’s Military Task Force, click here.

[1] Kristine Yaffe, M.D. (2010) Archives of General Psychiatry. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Risk of Dementia among U.S. Veterans.
[2] Clifford M. Singer, M.D. Journal of Aging Life Care. (2018). Dementia Risk Factors in Veterans.
The Alzheimer’s Association. (2018). Traumatic Brain Injury.
[3] The Alzheimer’s Association. (2018). Traumatic Brain Injury.

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