Remembering our Veterans Living with Dementia
On November 11, Canada honours all veterans who have served our country, many of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice. Many of our veterans have now reached old age and some of our oldest veterans may have developed dementia. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada,1 one in eleven Canadians over the age of 65 is currently living with dementia.1 In addition, dementia affects approximately 500,000 Canadians.
We owe our veterans the best care possible during such difficult times in the same way as they have defended our country and supported our allies with all their might. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that the type of care that we offer to those veterans who reside in long-term care facilities is often subpar. In addition, the pandemic has exposed the cracks in the long-term care system and the way we treat some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We ought to do better!
Untreated and unrecognized pain is a known cause of agitation and responsive behaviors that affect long-term care residents and veterans with dementia many of whom suffer in isolation as dementia can affect their ability to communicate the subjective state of their pain. Limited resources and other obstacles may stand in the way of assessing and treating pain in this population despite the availability of easy-to-use evidence-based approaches for pain assessment and management in this population. Resources for spouses, family members, and friends of veterans living with dementia are available on our website.
This Remembrance Day we ought to do better and #SeePainMoreClearly to improve the quality of life of our oldest veterans.
How You Can Help?
Would you like to share your thoughts on our See Pain More Clearly initiative and the use of social media to mobilize knowledge about pain in dementia?
We are looking for participants to participate in a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the #seepainmoreclearly social media initiative to mobilize knowledge about pain in dementia.
Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2010). Rising tide: The impact of dementia on Canadian society. Alzheimer Society. Available at https://archive.alzheimer.ca/sites/default/files/files/national/advocacy/asc_rising_tide_exec_summary_e.pdf