Veterans with Dementia on the Fourth of July
If your elder suffers from dementia, then this Fourth of July weekend might be better spent away from fireworks.
Consider a trip to the mountains with the family or even spending a quiet night together at home. If you’re taking care of your elder veteran this Fourth of July, remember two things:
1. Dementia can cause memory loss
2. Veterans may suffer PTSD
Of course, when you think of the Fourth of July, you think of fireworks and “bombs bursting in the air,” and if your senior is suffering dementia, this could trigger that memory loss and PTSD. It can turn the whole holiday weekend around – not for the better either.
That said, you can still celebrate, it’s more a matter of where and how. Many families get together and go to a public park or stadium to see the fireworks go off. That kind of event is not the best for seniors with dementia. They may wander off and with the amount of foot traffic, you don’t want to lose them. Additionally, depending on the fireworks display and location, some elders experience sundowning which can cause violent and aggressive mood swings – also not ideal for a happy occasion.
Everyone’s elder is different and maybe this won’t be a problem for your loved one, but even if you stay with your senior the entire time, if they start exhibiting signs, it’s going to be very hard to keep them calm in a loud setting. If it’s a tradition, sometimes the best thing you can do is simply watch from afar and not congregate around people so that, if you need to calm your parent down, you have all the tools you need.
If seeing fireworks seems like too much of ordeal, but you still want to celebrate, then the best thing you can do is buy some (legal) fireworks for your neighborhood and set them off with the family. It’s less likely that your elder will suffer their symptoms, but even if they do, they’ll be in a controlled environment.
Remember dementia is not a disease, but a collection of symptoms. So when someone suffers dementia, they may be showing all or none of the signs. If your elder’s doctor has diagnosed them with Alzheimer’s, then be wary of the dementia signs.
Usually, those who suffer dementia, only experience mild symptoms at first. For those that realize they have dementia early on, they’re more lucid and are able to take the necessary steps to strengthen their brain and (ideally) slow the progression. Many seniors don’t get checked out however, and still others must rely on their adult children to determine if something is wrong.
If your elder has unexplained bruising, dents on their car, or you’re finding household items in bizarre places (like high heels in the freezer), then get your elder to a doctor. Don’t wait to act!
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