Military Monday : VA Caregiver Support

On this “Military Monday” I am excited to bring to you some information about VA Caregiver Support. Its a fairly new thing to come across my “desk” and I was excited about sharing the information with you. Having several Caregivers in my life I have seen the intense effect that the life can take on them. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like. Thankfully, there are so many new programs and groups are taking shape to really drive the education and care concerning the caregivers of our Veterans. While the Elizabeth Dole Foundation really has emerged as a non-profit really revolutionizing how we view and care for caregivers, the VA is also taking a multifaceted approach. And while I haven’t done extensive research on their programs I found it interesting enough that I wanted to share with you all.

 VA Caregiver Support Logo

Please spread this info around. The more hands it is in the more good it has the potential to do. Do you know a Caregiver, encourage her/him, ask how you can best help them, pray for them if you are the praying type. Offer to participate in support activities (like the ones listed below) with them.

November is National Caregiver’s Month (as well as National Military Families Month) and in recognition of that the VA Caregiver Support Program is holding meditation calls throughout the month. A social worker will be online four times a day to go through the process with you and other caregivers who call in.

There is also a great series entitled Care for the Caregiver, designed to aide caregivers in establishing tools and strategies to balance the demands of caregiving. This is so exciting as well. From the limited experience I have with the Caregiving community I know their lives are a whirlwind, and can be extremely difficult. I notice an upswing in available programs, research, education and support in this area, even from several years ago.  I would be interest to see if what I notice is correct, so please share if you have first hand experience. I wonder if many caregivers have the ability or even the thought process to sit down and participate in these types of things; or if they really are that new that caregivers even from a couple years ago didn’t have knowledge or access to these types of things.

I almost wish that military spouses could, and would be encouraged to, participate in things like this. Being prepared for anything would be so beneficial. Granted, you don’t know how you will be when you are in the throws of a life-changing event, but at least a little information could go a long way.

For more information on the VA Caregiver Support programs I mentioned here, and others visit the VA’s website here. You can also visit the tab up top with compiled information for caregivers and families of the wounded.

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Military Support Series *Veteran CareGiver*

Last week I had the amazing pleasure of hanging out with some great ladies at the Care Giver’s Resource Fair at Walter Reed.  I had never heard of Veteran Caregiver, so I knew I had to add their group to my list of resources to share with my amazing readers.  So lets hear a little bit more about this amazing group.
 The basics of it is this….what happens “AFTER”?  That seems to be a simple question, but in reality, for many veterans and Caregivers its the complete opposite of simple.  What do I/We do now?  That’s where Veteran Caregiver comes into play.  
This site is a bridge for caregivers and veterans alike. It is a safe place to air questions and frustrations on and offline, but we also provide individualized assistance when you’ve hit the wall. As a veteran or a caregiver of a veteran, your life may be significantly altered by injury, illness, or aging. If you’re feeling isolated or alone, want/need people around you who “get it”, and you’d benefit from networking with peers and professionals, community health and recovery resources, you’ve come to the only site of its kind. VeteranCaregiver is here to fill the need for acknowledgement, mentoring as only peers can do, and to provide accessible support from others who share or can address your challenges.- Linda Kreter -Founder & CEO
It is a virtual community that provides a connection.  With so much of this world “virual”, with social media being the way to go, I think this is a stupendous idea.  So many of my friends have been found and developed through social media.  Its like the key to the city for Military Spouses, especially those of us who have been situated in isolated areas as I was for so many years.
Simply go to Veteran Caregiver’s website and register to start!
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Military Caregiver’s Week – Elizabeth Dole Foundation

I’m so late on this, and I hate that.  Today was the last day of ‘Military Caregiver’s Week’, bringing special attention to the amazing people that care for our wounded (physical and mental) warriors, that have sacrificed so much for us.  These men and women are absolutely amazing and go about their days just doing what they have to do, living life, and they deserve so much praise for that – enter the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.  


Their Mission: To uplift American military caregivers by strengthening the services afforded to them through innovation, evidence-based research, and collaboration.

Their Philosophy: 

 One of the really neat things they do is their Innovative Grant Program.  They provide grants to non-profit companies that make it easier for those caring for warriors to navigate the available support programs, through technology.  I think is absolutely wonderful.  Having had to navigate a myriad of these online programs in desperate search for help it can be quite challenging, and frankly absolutely frustrating.  Sometimes all your searching gives you is a website list of suggestions.  How does that help in the real-world?  Technology is fabulous, but not if it simply makes things more frustrating.  Having a way to navigate programs and companies through technology, leading to real human help is exactly what we need and is exactly what the 2013 Innovative Grant recipients have done.  This year’s recipients are The National Military Family Association (NMFA), MOAA and the Military Child Education Coalition.   Having met someone from each of these organizations, and worked with them as well, I can tell you that they are extremely deserving of these grants.  They will continue to do all they can do to not only assist Military Caregivers, our Wounded Warriors and all of our Military. 

I don’t know any Military Caregivers in my real life, although I follow the blog of a military caregiver.  The things that she has had to endure, I know nothing of.  I couldn’t possibly imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes.

Do you know a Military Caregiver in your life?  Find the Elizabeth Dole Foundation facebook.  Tell them about the caregiver you know.  Go to the Foundation’s website and see how you can get involved.

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