Weiss: Analysis Says That Aging Veterans at Greater Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Monday, October 02, 2017
Following the release of this issue brief, on Tuesday evening at a reception in room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, UsA2, a Washington, DC-based Alzheimer’s advocacy group whose mission is to stop Alzheimer’s disease by 2020, will launch VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s (VA2), a national network of veterans and their families, military leaders, veterans groups, researchers, and clinicians, to focus on raising awareness of the impact of Alzheimer’s and other dementias on active and retired military service members.
Dramatic Increase in Veterans with Alzheimer’s
Forty nine percent of those aging veterans age 65 ((WW2, Korea, Vietnam and even younger veterans, from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in the coming decades), are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s compared to 15 percent of nonveterans over age 65, note the authors of the issue brief. “There is a clear and compelling obligation for greater support to meet the needs of veterans with Alzheimer, they say.
The issue brief pulls together research study findings released by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). On study estimates that more than 750,000 older veterans have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, another noting that the number of enrollee with Alzheimer’s grew 166 percent from roughly 145,000 in 2004 to 385,000 in 2014.
The “Minority communities are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s and minority veterans are predicted to increase from 23.2 percent of the total veteran population in 2017 to 32.8 percent in 2037, says a VA study.
The issue brief also cites study findings that indicate that older veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are 60 percent are more likely to develop dementia, Twenty-two percent of all combat wounds in Afghanistan and Iraq were brain injuries, nearly double the rate seen during Vietnam – increasing these younger veterans’ lifetime Alzheimer’s risk.
Veterans also face a multitude of barriers to effective Alzheimer’s diagnosis and care, including a complex Veteran’s Administration health system, a lack of understanding about available benefits, and a stigma related to brain and mental health, say issue brief authors.
George Vradenburg, UsA2’s Chairman and Co-Founder, sums up the message to Congress and federal and state policy makers in the released issue brief: “We need to understand so much more about why brain injuries sustained in battle put veterans at greater risk for Alzheimer’s. We must encourage veterans to participate in clinical studies to learn about the long-term effects of brain injuries, so we can do everything in our power to mitigate the impact on those who have given so much to this country.”
A Call for Funding…
When former Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts released Rhode’s Alzheimer’s plan in 2013, to guide and coordinate the state’s efforts to care for those with debilitating Alzheimer’s and those who care for them, she called the report a ”living document, ” to be continuing updated as needed. With the 5-year update of the State’s plan being due June 2019, to be submitted to the Rhode Island General Assembly, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee and the Executive Board of the Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders working group, roll up their sleeves to meet that legislative deadline.
McKee and his Alzheimer’s plan working group are now turning to philanthropic organizations, like the Rhode Island Foundation, to fund their efforts to update the State’s Alzheimer’s plan. Yes, it costs money to do this and with the incidence of Alzheimer’s increasing in the Ocean State, lawmakers and state policy makers need an updated plan to provided them with a road map to effectively utilize state resources and dollars to provide care for those afflicted with debilitating cognitive disorder.
In 2013, 24,000 Rhode Islanders were afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders and this number will continue to grow each year. With the state being so small, every Rhode Islander is personally touched, either caring for a family member with the cognitive disorder or knowing someone who is a caregiver or patient.
Funding from the Rhode Island General Assembly and philanthropic organizations are needed to get the ball rolling on the state Alzheimer’s plan. When updating, don’t forget the needs of Rhode Island’s aging veterans.
Founded in 2010, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s has worked to secure the national goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 and to assist in securing nearly $500 million in additional public funding for Alzheimer’s research over the past few years. The nonprofit’s global efforts has influenced the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, the G7, to embrace a similar 2025 goal and to call for greater levels of research investment and collaboration to combat Alzheimer’s . Finally, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s works to forge pharmaceutical industry commitments to improve efficiencies for an expedited drug discovery and approval process. For more information click here.
For details on the updating of Rhode Island’s Alzheimer’s Plan, call the office of Lt. Gov. Dan McKee at (401) 222-2371.
Herb Weiss, LRI’12 is a Pawtucket writer covering aging, healthcare and medical issues. To purchase Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly, a collection of 79 of his weekly commentaries, go to herbweiss.com.
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Operation Stand Down's Boots on the Ground Memorial
Operation Stand Down RI (OSDRI) will host the 2nd annual Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial this Memorial Day weekend from Friday, May 26 at 8 a.m. to Monday, May 29 at 2 p.m. Overall, OSDRI will place nearly 7,000 boots in the field by the Temple to Music at Roger Williams Park throughout the weekend.
On Sunday, May 28 there will be a Patriotic Concert by the RI National Guard 88th Army Band. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The event will honor all of Rhode Island's American heroes, who were killed in action defending the country during the war on terror, by marking their lives with a boot, flag, and name placard.
North Kingstown Wreath Laying and Parade
North Kingstown, RI
The North Kingstown Wreath laying ceremony will take place on Monday, May 29 at Civil War Memorial at North Kingstown Town Hall as well as at Veterans Memorial Park. The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 9 a.m.
Following the wreath-laying, there will be a Memorial Day parade at 10 a.m.
PHOTO: Presidio of Monterey/flickr
The Charlestown Parade begins on Sunday, May 28 at 1 p.m. starting from the Cross Mills on Old Post Road and ending at Ninigret Park.
Once at the park, there will be ceremonies and a performance by the Wakefield Concert Band at 3 p.m.
Ellsworth Maine Memorial Day Parade
Beginning on Monday, May 29 at 10 a.m. local marching bands will play patriotic tunes, ride on colorful floats while dressed in red, white and blue.
The parade will follow School St. to Main St. before ending at City Hall.
Foster Parade and Wreath Laying
The Foster Memorial Day Parade and wreath laying will kick off at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, May 29 from the Foster Center and North roads and go to the Ben Eddy Building.
Following the parade, there will also be a speaking program and the unveiling of a monument that is dedicated to World War II veterans who were originally from Foster.
Seekonk Memorial Day Parade
The Seekonk Memorial Day Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 27 from Seekonk High School and ends at Dr. Kevin Hurley Middle School.
After the parade, there will be hot dogs and hamburgers at American Legion Post # 311 on 351 Fall River Avenue.
PHOTO: Fleet W/flickr
Avenue of Flags at Pawtuxet Memorial Park in Warwick
The Avenue of Flags at Pawtuxet Memorial Park in Warwick consists of over 300 American flags lining the streets in the park.
Hours for the Avenue of Flags are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting on Saturday and ending on Monday.
It is FREE.
Memorial Day Service at Togus National Cemetery
Togus National Cemetery will host a traditional Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 29 beginning at 8 a.m.
The service will pay tribute to fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines with a wreath laying ceremony and much more.
PHOTO: Togus National Cemetery/ nps.gov
Pawtucket Veterans' Council Ceremony
The Pawtucket Veterans' Council Ceremony will take place on Monday, May 29 at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park at Roosevelt Avenue and Exchange Street.
Events will be led by Capt. James Hollis, Commander Raymond Welch, Penny Trottier, Bob Balthazard, president of the Fleet Reserve, John Gallo, Maurice Trottier, Leo Courtois and Ted Gerrard. Commander Jack Lucas will act as emcee.
North Providence Parade
North Providence, RI
The North Providence Memorial Day Parade begins at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 29 starting at North Providence High School on Mineral Spring Avenue and ending at Governor John Notte Jr. Park.
The parade will be followed by a short ceremony and then food and entertainment in the park from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Battleship Cove Memorial Day Ceremony
Fall River, MA
Battleship Cove in Fall River will host an observance at noon on Monday, May 29 to honor and remember the men and women who dedicated and dedicate their lives to protecting the country.
The ceremony will consist of the raising of the flag from half-staff as well as a 21 gun salute.
The ceremony is FREE and open to the public.
In 1868, the United States government formally instituted Memorial Day as a national remembrance of the fallen soldiers from the Civil War of 1861-1865.
At Mystic Seaport, Decoration Day ceremonies are set in 1876. In the morning, visitors are invited to the Fishtown Chapel to witness the memorials laid for local Civil War soldiers.
At midday, all are welcome inside the Greenmanville Church for a brief service complete with sermon and hymns. A colour guard will lead everyone to the waterfront, where wreaths are laid for the artillery and the Navy.
In the afternoon, there will be a presentation by the musicians of the Museum’s Chantey Program illustrating the different roles of music on the home-front, in camp, and on the field – or sea – of battle during wartime.
Memorial Day Remembrance at Hubbardton Battle Field
At noon on Monday, May 29, battlefield flags will be raised to full-mast and tribute will be paid at the battle monument to the soldiers of Hubbardton.
The ceremony will go from 12 p.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Shrewsbury Memorial Day Parade
The Shrewsbury Memorial Day Parade will start at 9:30 a.m. on Monday from the Richard Carney Municipal Office Building and will make several stops along the way.
The parade stops at the Soldier's Statue in front of the Police Station on Maple Ave, the War Memorial at the Town Center and at the Veterans Lot at Mountain View Cemetery.
Following the parade, there will be a keynote address from retired Army Colonel John P. Collins (pictured).
Veterans Memorial Day Cruise
Celebrate Memorial Day on the water with this Memorial Day cruise on the Songo River Queen II.
Veterans or Active Duty Service men or women, and their immediate family get on for free.
The cruise goes from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Free Admission for Vets to Tower Hill Botanic Gardens
Tower Hill Botanic Garden is allowing veterans and military personnel in for free on Memorial Day with a valid military ID.
Up to five family members will receive 20 percent off their entry fee.
Visitors can enjoy the spring blooms of the gardens, hikes through the surrounding woodlands, the fully accessible Garden Within Reach, views of Mt. Wachusett, art exhibits, the Garden Shop, Twigs Cafe, the Wild Rumpus Stickwork Exhibit by internationally renowned artist Patrick Dougherty, and more.
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