Older Military Veteran Care: Many Still Believe They Are Forgotten

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Background: Almost 44% of our nation’s 23 million men and women veterans are 65 years of age or older. Most are proud of their service, yet many believe their services for our country were forgotten, especially those in combat between 1950 and 1975. Purpose: Further information to ultimately assist their holistic well-being will be important for nursing practice as countless older veterans are beginning to obtain more care within civilian facilities. Using the Korean War (1950-1953) as a backdrop to illustrate the interconnectiveness of older veteran physical, emotional, and spiritual concerns that can occur from a military deployment, the major purposes of this article are to provide a brief historical snapshot of that war and discuss prior-era military environmental situations that now are producing the lingering effects from their combat exposure. Design: Relevant literature about the Korean War and Veterans was compiled. Findings: Some of these health risks for both the Korean men and women veterans are cold exposure, neurologic, and posttraumatic stress disorder concerns, as well as the need for hepatitis C and suicide assessments. Conclusions: To ultimately improve their bio-psycho-socio-spiritual well-being, prompt identification of the older military veteran, their lingering combat effects, and reminiscing will be important.

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