Veterans of World War II at a Memorial Day service.

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Caregiving for Veterans at Home: Supports and Resources

If you are caring for a member of the military or a veteran, you are one of 5.5 million military and veteran family caregivers in the United States. The value of the care you provide is $14 billion dollars nationwide—a major contribution. Thank you for service in caring for those who have served our nation.

While you are providing care for loved ones, you may experience many challenges. In fact, compared to other family caregivers, military and veteran family caregivers tend to experience worse health outcomes, have more strains in family relationships, experience more workplace challenges, take on a caregiving role earlier than other caregivers, and maintain that role longer.

The good news is that there are resources and supports tailored specifically to your needs as you care for our nation’s heroes.

I cared for both my grandfather, who was career military, serving in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War (Army, Army Air Corps, Air Force); and my dad, a veteran of WWII and the Korean War (Army). There were few veteran-specific supports for my grandfather back then, but for Dad, Veterans Affairs (VA) supports included home-based primary care (doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and therapies provided in the home) and other services that were absolutely crucial as I cared for him at home for more than a decade.

And there are now additional organizations focusing on support for military and veteran caregivers. These are some key resources that may be helpful to you.

Department of Veterans Affairs: Visit va.gov or call 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-628-2411) to learn about supports, including:

  • VA HealthCare may provide home health aides, medication, respite care, incontinence supplies, medical equipment, adult day care, and more for eligible enrolled veterans.
  • may provide thousands of dollars per month to help pay for care for eligible veterans.
  • The VA Caregiver Support Program: Visit va.gov or call 1-855-260-3274 to learn about VA supports for you and the veterans you care for. Caregiver supports may include:
    • The Program of General Caregiver Support Services, which provides peer support mentoring, skills training, coaching, telephone support, online programs, and referrals to available resources to caregivers of Veterans. The veterans must be enrolled in VA Health Care for their caregivers to be eligible, however their caregivers need not be a family member or live with the veteran.
    • The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, which offers. enhanced clinical support and services for caregivers of eligible Veterans who have a serious injury (or illness) and require in-person personal care services among other requirements.

Veterans Service Organizations: There are around 100 VA-recognized Veterans Service Organizations, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and American Veterans (AMVETS) and Vietnam Veterans of America. These VSOs help veterans and their caregivers navigate the VA claims and benefits (e.g. healthcare, pensions, etc.), systems. For example, they can assist with enrollment in VA healthcare benefits and applications for Aid and Attendance benefits.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation: Visit hiddenheroes.org to learn about a variety of military and veteran caregiver supports the Foundation offers, including the free Respite Relief program which provides free respite care for military and veteran caregivers.

AARP Military and Veteran Families Initiative: Visit aarp.org/veterans to find information, tools and tips for veterans and their caregivers, including their Veteran and Military Caregiving Guide, and their Mental and Emotional Health Support guide for Military and Veteran caregivers.

Operation Homefront Veteran Caregiver Support: Visit operationhomefront.org to learn about the supports offered to post-9/11 veteran caregivers.

Veterans Crisis Line: Visit veteranscrisisline.net, chat online with a trained agent, text 838255 or dial 988 and press “1” for free, confidential support available 24/7 for veterans in crisis.

Amy Goyer is a caregiving expert and author of Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving. A passionate champion for caregivers, she has also been one her entire adult life, caring for her grandparents, parents, sister, and others. Connect with Amy on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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