In America we are very proud of our soldiers and our veterans. The words “armed forces” bring to mind a desert in Iraq, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, our localVeterans Administration building, and our nation’s flag waving over a sports arena while the National Anthem begins the game. Last week, the American flag presided over the opening ceremony at the 9/11 memorial and museum. Among the visitors to this ceremony were veterans of the 9/11 attacks and the following. These warriors, both healthy and wounded were accompanied by supportive and proud companions; their families.
Many veterans receive care and support from their family members. Too often, soldiers return to the home front needing help with serious conditions such as PTSD, blindness and debilitating wounds. Loving family caregivers are proud of their brave veteran relatives and are happy to provide any assistance needed.
In an analysis on caregivers of veterans, the United Health Foundation reported that these caregivers experienced the stress, depression, employment and time commitment challenges usually reported by family caregivers. However, an overwhelming 94% stated that they were “proud to serve” their beloved veteran. Though their struggles may mirror those of other family caregivers, they draw strength from their work, knowing that with recovery, rehabilitation, and loving care, their loved one will regain the independence for which they fought.
Family caregiving is gaining more stateside notoriety, and advocates of family caregivers are becoming easier to find. Empowerment and encouragement of family caregivers is a common thread in many communities. Extra benefits are available for the family caregivers of veterans, who receive the respite they need from the Veteran’s Administration. Respite and education are also available through Arms Around Family Caregivers, our program to give back to family caregivers, and support the stories of other family caregivers. You can participate in Arms Around Family Caregivers by sharing your story of family caregiving for a chance to receive respite. You can also register for 8 free hours of family caregiver education through our Life Time Learning program.
Caregivers of veterans are fighting every day to keep their loved ones healthy, happy, and comfortable. Organizations such as the Veteran’s Administration andArms Around Family Caregivers are working each day to provide struggling family caregivers with emotional uplift and compassionate respite. We too are “proud to serve”, and honor the many soldiers and veterans who protect our freedom, our culture and our way of life.