Marietta, GA — For veterans and seniors who live with mental health challenges or memory difficulties, the measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus are particularly stark. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) hosted a webinar today with the Atlanta VA Health Care System and the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to address the mental health of veterans and to provide their families and caretakers with resources on how to maintain a routine during a time of increased isolation. McBath was joined by Dr. Jennifer Smith, Psychology Program Manager for Geriatrics and Extended Care at the Atlanta VAMC, and Jill Disney, Senior Director of Program & Services with the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
“This pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, but it can be especially hard for those of us who are accustomed to strict schedules and a regimented lifestyle. Ensuring the mental health of our veterans and our senior citizens, in addition to the physical health of our neighbors, is critical,” McBath said. “I am so grateful to our presenters today for sharing vital information on how veterans, seniors, and their caretakers can work together and adjust to the changes the coronavirus has brought to our daily lives.”
“Older adults are very experienced at change and weathering storms and younger people have the opportunity to learn from their wisdom right now,” Smith said. “Know that help and care are available for you, even if that help doesn’t look like what we are used to seeing.”
“We at the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter are appreciative of Representative McBath’s sincere understanding of the importance of educating her constituents about the virtual support and resources available to those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Disney said. “The programs and support the Alzheimer’s Association offers, such as our 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900) and our community education programs, are often described by those who utilize them as ‘lifelines’. We remain committed, during these difficult times and always, to offer Georgians with dementia, their families, and their caregivers the support they need in our shared fight against Alzheimer’s.”
The recently passed bipartisan CARES Act includes $19 billion in additional funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The money supports increased access to health care for veterans, additional funding for telemedicine and Armed Forces retirement homes, and expanded authority for the VA to help homeless veterans and veterans who are experiencing substance use issues.
May is Mental Health Month, and the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of access to mental health for all Americans. Rep. McBath is a member of the Mental Health Caucus and continues to push for increased funding to mental health workers in the next coronavirus relief package.
For more information on McBath’s work in Congress and her office’s response to the coronavirus, please visit mcbath.house.gov/covid-19-resources-and-what-you-need-to-know.