Caring for Wounded Service Members and Their Care-givers
Special thoughts of our military service members and our veterans come to the minds of many of us, especially during this holiday season. The war against terrorism continues across the seas. Domestically, counter-terrorism strategies are constantly being revised to keep us safe. Still, soldiers are returning to their homes with severe injuries with lifetime residual effects.
The USA Today on Dec. 7 had an excellent opinion piece by Sarah Verardo, CEO of The Independence Fund, an advocacy group for veterans and caregivers, that is especially poignant for all of us.
Titled “I’m in a battle to support my husband,” Ms. Verardo shares what it’s like to care for her husband who stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) eight years ago and lost his left leg and much of his left arm, barely surviving.
“Mike’s war was finally over,” she says of her husband, “But mine would be fought on the home front. I was going to have to battle for him.”
She goes on to say that her life is complicated with three young children, work, house care issues, and “a husband who needs assistance in everything from dressing, to getting cleaned and ready, to planning the day. Every day, I am constantly thinking for two people.” (And really, for five).
While there is some assistance for caregivers through the Department of Veterans Affairs, life still is difficult.
“Securing caregiver status can be a nightmare. VA guidelines dictate that the maximum wait for approval should be 45 days. But more than half of veteran caregivers wait three to six months. . . . The VA has been known to drop caregivers without explanation.”
So what can we do? Ms. Verardo ends by saying
“There’s a role for the average civilian, too. My advice? Don’t ask how you can help — just do it. Help with transport for veterans, bring over a home-cooked meal, or drop off basic essentials — caregivers are in survival mode, and receiving help without having to ask for it is the biggest gift. My husband paid a huge price in service of his country. It is the honor of my lifetime to take care of him. But the caregivers now waging the war at home must be remembered, too.”
Locally, the Broomfield American Legion Post 58 family is working hard to help our military, our veterans, and their caregivers.
Contact me at 303-916-5123 or email@example.com to help us help veterans. From cooking, to knitting, to transportation, to visiting with PTSD patients, to writing to Congress (and so much more), we are here to serve.
There is a vacancy for your help in whatever arena your time and talents can serve. Call us and inquire. No obligation is necessary!
Jan Peticolas is president of the Broomfield American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 58