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Supporting Military Caregivers

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By: Lakelyn Hogan, MA, MBA, Gerontologist and Caregiver Advocate, Home Instead Senior Care

More than 5.5 million spouses, parents, and friends are caring for wounded, ill or injured U.S. service members and veterans at home. These caregivers often do not ask for help and could often have limited time to seek out assistance and resources. As professionals in the aging field, we can learn more about the unique challenges that military family caregivers may face and find ways to connect them with support.

While the care and support military caregivers provide is important, caring for a service member or veteran can take a significant toll on caregivers and can negatively impact well-being. A recent study compared military and non-military caregivers and found the caregiving experience greatly varies.

Military Caregivers are More Likely to Experience:

  • Higher rates of physical strain
  • More sleep deprivation or disturbances
  • Greater incidence of chronic illness
  • Higher mortality rates
  • Very high emotional stress
  • Higher rates of mental health problems
  • Increased financial strain
  • Larger out-of-pocket expenses
  • Employment challenges
  • Higher risk of social isolation

For free resources to encourage military caregivers to care for themselves and spot the signs of stress, bookmark this page.

Organizations Supporting Military Caregivers

Far too often, military caregivers are not aware of the support and resources available to them.

  • Veteran Affairs: VA Caregiver Support and the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, press 1)
  • AARP: Military Caregiver Guide is a downloadable PDF filled with helpful resources, checklists and sample caregiving plans.
  • Elizabeth Dole Foundation: Caregiver Journey Map documents the journey of military and veteran caregivers by mapping out stages or key points in the caregiving journey where the right people, organizations, and service providers can step in to support caregivers as they adapt to a new way of life and navigate through each stage. Hidden Heroes, is an online resource directory for military and veteran caregivers.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is dedicated to supporting military caregivers by recognizing their unique needs and creating tools to assist them like the Campaign for Inclusive Care. This important resource was developed to help military caregivers feel more connected and supported in a healthcare setting. After all, they can be a valuable resource to the healthcare community but only with successful communication between the healthcare provider, the veteran, and the military caregiver. The campaign includes resources and online courses for healthcare providers, caregivers and veterans to help all parties put inclusive care into practice.    

To learn more about how aging and healthcare professionals can support military caregivers on their caregiving journey and connect them with important resources, watch this webinar. Senior care professionals can earn a free Continuing Education (CE) credit*. For more about how home care services can help veterans and military caregivers at home, visit www.HomeInstead.com.

*CE credits are only available for 60 days following the live webinar event.

Last revised: March 5, 2020

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