The hustle and bustle of our daily lives can keep us focused on our own problems and concerns, but we often forget that we have our freedom thanks to the men and women who selflessly gave their time and lives to military service. Military personnel who return home from deployment retire after years of service and are medically discharged with specific needs: mentally, physically and financially. The caregivers who tend to these wounded military heroes also have needs that the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is committed to providing.
Battlefield medicine has saved the lives of thousands of military personnel injured in war, but the illnesses, injuries and wounds follow them home. As a result, siblings, loved ones, parents and spouses are providing emotional and physical support, acting as advocates for veterans, administering medications and facilitating rehabilitation to support the wounded military members.
More than 5.5 million loved ones serve as caregivers for our war heroes, according to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. They spend countless hours taking care of daily needs such as bathing, dressing, walking and feeding critically injured veterans and members of the military. Caregivers often provide continuous care for bed-ridden patients, handling financial and legal matters, and tending to the needs of the children of wounded veterans.
The goal of a caregiver is to save the physical and mental well-being of our war heroes, but the role is one that takes a toll on all involved.
The foundation has helped veterans such as Brian and Natalie Vine, according to the Washington Times. The couple both served more than two decades in the army, retiring in 2012 and 2013 but not without war injuries to tend to while living as veterans in Florida. The plan was for the couple to be active after serving their country, but Natalie’s multiple health problems that include a seizure disorder and PTSD, limited their activities to multiple visits to medical facilities. Though a war veteran himself, Brian soon became a caregiver and a fellow of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation after it proved a crucial support system — both physically and mentally — for the couple.
Brian Vine is not alone; spouses, partners, brothers, sisters, parents and siblings have all had their lives changed after selflessly devoting their time to care for wounded veterans. Tending to the needs of others can greatly impact the overall well-being of caregivers, especially for those who are prone to depression and health problems that result from neglecting their own needs when caring for our wounded heroes.
With help from the foundation, caregivers are provided with the tools and resources they need to delegate tasks, pay for health services, enlist the help of medical professionals and participate in social activities that keep them positive and hopeful when the pressure of taking care of our veterans is overwhelming.
Just because you might not be a veteran or caregiver doesn’t mean that you can’t care for our brave service members. Make a difference in the lives of wounded war heroes and their caregivers by advocating for government programs that combat PTSD and advocate for the rights of our veterans.