COLUMBUS — Dementia risks among veterans will be the topic of a statewide virtual forum put on by the Alzheimer’s Association on June 29.
The forum, which is free, will provide information about Alzheimer’s and dementia and the caregiver support resources offered by VA Medical Centers and the Alzheimer’s Association. The Association, through its Alzheimer’s Military Task Force, is working to educate veterans, drive early detection of the disease and connect veterans to free ongoing education and support programs that can enhance care and understanding for affected families.
According to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association, veterans with dementia are 2.6 times more likely to be hospitalized than other veterans — and hospital stays are, on average, 2.4 times longer. In addition, the average number of outpatient psychiatric visits is three times greater among veterans with dementia than veterans without.
“Because of the enhanced risk of dementia, we really are taking proactive measures to reach out to veterans to educate them about how both the Alzheimer’s Association and the VA Medical Centers can help them and their families. Caring for someone with dementia can be very isolating. This program will help people understand the support services available to help them,” Rebecca Hall, program director for the Alzheimer’s Association, said.
Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) have a 60 percent greater chance of developing dementia. PTSD is two to five times more common in veterans compared with the general population.
To register for the forum, which is from 5 to 6:30 p.m., call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900. After registering, a Zoom link will be provided to join the session. The educational event, which is for veterans, their caregivers and interested family members, is supported by the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, the VA Medical Centers and AARP Ohio.