Part of the thanks that we can give is by showing respect, support, and compassion for the efforts men and women took to secure our freedoms during wartime or peacetime.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care has many clients who are veterans, some who served recently, and some who served their country decades ago.
In many cases, their service left them with some health conditions that need care, such as injuries or disabilities. In other cases, wounds from the past may start to hurt or affect them more as their bodies change and age.
Some veterans are also dealing with mental and emotional challenges from their time of service, something else that we are aware of. Although we don’t offer mental health services, we’re happy to encourage and support clients who are trying to get assistance and therapy and let them know about these types of services in our community.
We also are happy to connect clients who are veterans with various programs through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A variety of benefits are available to everyone who has served and honorably discharged. More benefits are available for veterans who meet certain criteria.
For instance, some Vietnam-era veterans were exposed to a chemical called Agent Orange. Many who were have been diagnosed with a variety of similar health problems. This caused the VA to put together a list of common health conditions that were likely caused by Agent Orange and then provide additional funding and care.
Gulf War veterans who were stationed in certain areas that had certain environmental hazards who are suffering certain conditions are also entitled to additional specific benefits.
The VA provides a variety of services at its clinics and hospitals around the country but those outside of the immediate area can receive authorization to be treated by other providers or utilize other community services.
For instance, the VA offers a variety of full-time and part-time at-home and support services including home-based primary care and hospice care.
Homemakers and health aides are available for those who may need extra assistance getting around the home or assistance with basic health needs.
Respite care is also available as a way to give relief to caregivers who may need the occasional break, which can be a few hours or an entire day.
Specialty care can be provided as a benefit, which can include various therapies like massage therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
Some times these benefits are provided directly to the veteran; other times it may go to a spouse or family member who is providing caregiving services.
If someone isn’t sure how to apply for benefits or which ones are provided, it helps to contact the nearest VA facility or a Veterans Service program in your county or community. Veteran Aid, a free online resource, also can offer general information about available home care services and how to access them.
Other ways to assist
Although the Department of Veterans Affairs is a great starting place, there are other opportunities to for caregivers, family members and community members to show support and compassion for veterans.
- Ask them to share some details of their service. Depending on what they experienced and encountered, some details can still be painful, even if they happened years ago. But there may be some information they’re happy to tell stories about.
- Ask them to record their memories. Even if they don’t feel comfortable telling stories, they may want to consider writing down their experiences or speaking into a recorder. Either of these can be great treasures for family members or even local historical societies or veterans organizations.
- Connect with colleagues. Someone receiving hospice care – or any type of care – might appreciate hearing from members who served with him or her. It could be an opportunity re-connect if they haven’t talked for some time. Even if they can’t come visit in person, they might enjoy sending greetings or connecting by phone or video chat. Any veterans in their life might also consider extending the same courtesy to others.
- Connect with the community. Local veterans organizations may have programs that recognize veterans or find ways they can get involved, from speaking at schools to helping with holidays. For instance, veterans often clean cemeteries and put out flags on the graves of veterans. Or get involved in public ceremonies for patriotic and veteran-focused holidays like Veterans Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, and others.
One of the upcoming holidays is Memorial Day, which is May 25 this year. The holiday is designed to honor all veterans, with a focus on celebrating and mourning those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.