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Supporting Caregivers As They Support
Our Veterans

By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

(Page 5 of 6)
 

Veterans Administration Role:

There are new VA services available to seriously injured post-9/11 Veterans and their Family Caregivers through a new program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. VA.  These services include the following:

  • Monthly stipend

  • Travel expenses (including lodging and per diem while accompanying Veterans undergoing care)

  • Access to health care insurance (if the Caregiver is not already entitled to care or services under a health care plan)

  • Mental health services and counseling

  • Comprehensive VA Caregiver training provided by Easter Seals

  • Respite care (not less than 30 days per year)

Caregivers who might qualify for this program should visit the VA web site or call 1-877-222 VETS (8387) for more information

The majority of our service members are extremely strong and resilient; however, the emotional battering and stress of war can ultimately lead to mental health consequences. Veterans from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, who have accessed VA health care, have reported mental health concerns including PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), substance abuse and mood disorders. Living with and caring for veterans with these issues is difficult and can change the way that family members relate to one another. Thatís why it is crucial for those who care for our veterans to become educated about these obstacles and learn how to recognize when help or an intervention is needed.
 
Veteransí Centers around the country offer support for mental health needs, readjustment issues, marriage and family problems, and medical caregiving. Support groups are also offered at many of these centers to help caregivers understand the veteranís personal challenges such as anxiety, depression, difficulties with their work/life balance, and grief and loss issues. For those who reside in rural areas, the VA is now networking with county and private human service providers to offer education and counseling, including bereavement support for families of fallen service members. 
 
Military OneSource is yet another support option. This free 24-hour service, provided by the Department of Defense, is available to all Guard, Reserve and active duty members and their families. Consultants provide information on a wide range of issues that affect daily life and offer counseling. The program can be reached by telephone at 1-800-342-9647 or through the Web site at www.militaryonesource.com.

 

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