Supporting Family Caregivers of Disabled Veterans

By Ruby Cemental

Caregivers typically have a variety of admirable qualities, including patience, kindness, and understanding. However, when it comes to caring for disabled veterans, it may be more difficult to relate to their particular struggles. America's veterans have made great sacrifices. We want to do our part in supporting family caregivers of disabled veterans. As a caregiver, it is important to remember a few key points that will help you best support yourself and the veterans that you care for.

Understanding Our Veterans

Veterans may require a different care approach than other seniors. One of the biggest differences is that veterans may experience PTSD. Some seniors experience an emergence of PTSD symptoms later in life due to change in their role, loss of function, or changes in health.

PTSD can cause a senior to behave differently and even become violent as they experience past terrors or reminisce about distressing events. Depression, anger, and other mental health problems are also common for disabled veterans.

Veterans are usually comforted by connecting with other veterans with similar experiences. Finding a support group for an aging veteran could be a key part of helping them heal. Depending on their condition, doctor's may prescribe therapy or medications. As a caregiver, it's important to take into account your loved one's condition, their stressors, and their environment to provide personalized care.

While these veterans can get help from the VA, the process may take time. Some offices might be backlogged with paperwork, and having the appropriate evidence could be difficult to obtain. When an aging loved one doesn't have time on their side, this process can be extremely frustrating for them and their family members.

Tips for Caregivers

But caregivers can be a great resource to support veterans and provide the specific care they need. If you are caring for a veteran, here are key factors to remember.

  1. Listen to their stories. These stories may be a great way for them to reminisce. You can show that you care and get a first-hand account of history. 

  2. You need your health to care for someone else. Helping an aging veteran can be a demanding responsibility. Find ways to relieve stress in your life. Take a walk, read a book, meditate, talk to a friend. Do something to alleviate the stress

  3.  Never think that you are alone, because you aren't. Believe in yourself and that you can handle anything that comes your way.

  4. Have patience with yourself and the person you are caring for. Breath, count to 10 and take each day minute by minute.

  5. You are their advocate.  Avoid going to a doctor's appointment without a list of questions.  Write it down, and write down their responses. You are the voice, and you must research your loved one's disability so that you and the doctor are on the same page in terms of care.

At Caring Senior Service we are always ready to help senior veterans and their families by providing professional advice and services. As you consider ways to give support to your aging parents or relatives, consider including us in your plans. Contact our care team today!

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Tags: Caregivers

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