Fourth of July, PTSD, and Proper Care for Aging Veterans at Home
VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit
The Fourth of July is a time when Americans celebrate independence. For veterans of all ages, it’s time to spend with family, celebrate freedom, and to be honored for the sacrifices they made in defense of freedom through the years. For elderly veterans living at home, having proper care is essential, no matter what time of the year it is, but during Fourth of July celebrations, if they have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those fireworks and other noises can be extremely difficult to handle.
Any veteran who saw combat or who had any type of extreme stress during their time of service or at any time in their life may be prone to anxiety and increased stress from loud noises, such as fireworks.
Even the smallest fireworks, those seemingly innocuous ones like Roman candles or ‘jumping jacks’, even though they don’t make a lot of noise, can make whistling sounds, small pops, and the colors and flashes that come out of them can cause anxiety for somebody who is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
What can be done to help these elderly veterans?
If the veteran relies on home care, it may be a good idea to have a home care aide there with him during the evening hours in and around the Fourth of July. Some people set off fireworks weeks before the Fourth of July celebration, but the most common time for them happens to be on July 4th itself.
In those days leading up to the Fourth of July and days afterward, a home care aide can sit with the veteran at home, make sure the windows and doors are closed with the air conditioning on if it’s too warm outside, and this will help dampen the noise from those fireworks outside.
The aide can also encourage the elderly veteran to watch a movie or television program that he or she enjoys. By watching a movie or television show, the veteran would be distracted by what’s going on outside and, instead, focus on the program they enjoy.
It may also be a good idea to close the curtains and blinds and keep the home as private as possible. If the elderly veteran is frightened by a loud bang from fireworks outside close by, it’s best to be soothing, calming, and offer a comfortable environment.
If medical assistance may be needed, the person with the elderly veteran should not wait to call for that type of support. June is PTSD Awareness Month and even into July it may be necessary to pay attention to the symptoms and conditions, especially when fireworks are prevalent.