Are you a family caregiver who is caring for a military veteran or service member? Do you worry that you don’t have any experience in caregiving? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you need a break? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone.
According to PsychArmor, a nonprofit organization providing training on military cultural awareness to promote better communication with active and retired military personnel, the majority of military family caregivers are between the ages of 18 and 30 and have little to no experience with caregiving. They are also juggling starting a career and family, and possibly school while caring for a veteran.
For many military caregivers, respite care may help lighten the load. Respite care is a temporary break for the family caregiver and the recipient. It involves another person caring for the veteran.
Be sensitive to your loved one’s feelings
While many military caregivers recognize that they would benefit from respite care, veterans are often resistant to having someone else look after them, and it’s important to understand why. According to PsychArmor:
- They could be embarrassed by their physical limitations or memory lapses that don’t align with their military identity.
- Their career in the military involved serving others so being on the receiving end of service may be out of their comfort zone.
- The culture of leadership in the military instilled a sense of responsibility for and accountability to others that can make it difficult to accept care or ask for help.
Share information about the benefits
Despite these reasons, it’s important that you communicate with your veteran or service member that respite care is necessary for your well-being and will be beneficial in sustaining your relationship outside of the caregiver and care recipient dynamic. Let them know that respite care has been proven to sustain the caregiver’s health and well-being, which should appeal to their desire to care for you.
Consider your options
Once you can agree on respite care, consider your options. You can ask a friend, neighbor or someone from your faith community for help. That could involve someone coming to the house or taking the veteran to an activity or to run an errand. You can also consider a professional caregiving company like SYNERGY HomeCare. The cost of these services may be covered by VA benefits.
You can also access the VA’s Caregiver Support Line at 855-260-3274 to speak with a nurse or social worker who can provide you emotional support as well as connect you with community resources.
Respite is an important component of caregiving that can sustain both the caregiver and the veteran for the long term—a win-win for all involved.
Learn more about the many ways SYNERGY HomeCare supports veterans and their caregivers.
SYNERGY HomeCare is committed to providing exceptional in-home care for veterans and their families. The majority of our locations are contracted with the VA and because of this, we make it easy for veterans and their families to use their VA benefits to get the in-home support they deserve. For additional home care resources for veterans and their caregivers, click here.