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Caring for a Veteran with Alzheimer’s If one of your loved ones is a veteran with Alzheimer’s disease, you know the challenges Alzheimer’s can pose to the individual afflicted and to the family of the individual. Alzheimer’s is very difficult to deal with for all of the people who surround the disease.

Early On Set Alzheimer’s Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It unfortunately worsens as it progresses, and results in death for the person afflicted. Alzheimer’s most often affects people who are 65 or older, but there have been some rare cases where it has been reported in people of younger ages. When this happens, it is called early on-set Alzheimer’s. Something that is difficult about Alzheimer’s is that it represents itself differently in every individual it afflicts. While this is true, there are several common symptoms that seem to manifest themselves across most people who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Early signs of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s tend to be misinterpreted as other things. Many people, including doctors, tend to think that the early signs of Alzheimer’s are stress-related or just normally agerelated concerns. When Alzheimer’s has barely begun to afflict an individual, the earliest sign that it is Alzheimer’s is that they have difficulty remembering recent events. Once the family or the individual suspects that they might have Alzheimer’s, certain tests are run to see if this is indeed the case. The tests that then take place test the individual’s behavior and their ability to think and process memories and information. If the resources are available, a brain scan is usually the next step in determining if the individual is indeed suffering from Alzheimer’s. If there is a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, other symptoms will start to appear. As stated earlier, the way Alzheimer’s manifests itself is different from person to person. The most common symptoms, however, are confusion, irritability, aggression, mood swings, trouble speaking, and long-term memory loss. People who have Alzheimer’s generally also will withdraw from their family and feel that they want to be left alone.


Caring for Family with Alzheimer’s This can leave the family of the person suffering from Alzheimer’s devastated. They do not know what to do because their loved one pretty much does not want to have anything to do with them. There are several things a family can do in order to help each other deal with their loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. One of the most important things a family can do is to share responsibility. If one person is in charge of all of the care that the loved one needs, that person will most likely burn out very quickly. Responsibility must be shared between family members; it is not fair for one person to carry all the weight. If the loved one is a veteran and has made a VA purchase, that must be dealt with by a member of the family. A VA purchase can be dealt with if a family member contacts the United States Department of Veterans and Affairs. Stick together as a family and be there for each other. This will make the journey with Alzheimer’s much more bearable. Photo Credit: foxumon, socyo


Caring for a veteran with alzheimers