At last count, there were 18.8 million U.S. veterans, stretching from World War II to present-day conflicts. Each individual went above and beyond in their sacrifice to defend our country, whether peacetime or wartime. So in the same spirit, the team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care wants to make sure that their efforts and commitment are always recognized.
This month is a perfect opportunity to do so. Nov. 11 was Veterans Day, the country’s official celebration of the men and women in the armed forces, living or dead. While Memorial Day in May is designed to honor those who have given their lives for freedom, the fall holiday celebrates anyone who has joined the ranks of the country’s forces, whether they served a few years or their entire professional careers.
Some communities have parades, ceremonies, or other ways to recognize their populations who served. Many restaurants also offer certain special privileges on or around Veterans Day, such as a free meal for a past or present veteran.
As a home health care provider for the Iowa area since 2004, our team has helped plenty of veterans over the years. Some have needed the same level of care or have been experiencing the same health conditions as the civilian population, while others have needed extra attention to injuries or health conditions related to their military experience, such as wounds suffered years or even decades before or certain cancers more common to military members.
Services to veterans
Whether someone has been dealing with chronic pain since their military days, or beginning to show symptoms of some health conditions simply as part of the aging process, there are a lot of opportunities for us to provide care.
We do pride ourselves on offering the same high levels of quality of care to all of our patients, and make sure that veterans know they are appreciated.
This includes offering access to a variety of therapists who can offer specialized services. This includes physical therapists, who can help people recover and rehabilitate from injuries; occupational therapists, who can help get patients in better physical shape to return to work or some other related activity; or speech therapists, who can help people affected by strokes or similar health conditions that may limit their ability to communicate, eat or swallow. Massage therapists can provide relaxation for strained muscles.
Homemaker services can assist with everything from meal planning and preparation to errands to light housekeeping.
And because Above and Beyond is also a licensed hospice provider, we can also provide assistance to patients in their final months, weeks or days, including helping them with pain management and making sure they can make final arrangements. We can also communicate with their family members and any providers regularly, and grief counselors are also available for the patient or any loved ones.
Something special that Above and Beyond also likes to do to recognize its patients who are veterans is to provide them with flag pins each Veterans Day.
In a private pinning ceremony usually at each patient’s home, we present each patient who has served in the military with a flag pin and thank them for their service, whether it was a few years or a few decades ago. Family, close friends and any caregivers are also invited to be part of the special event.
This gesture goes a long way in reminding the patients that their role was appreciated, whether they were part of peacetime or wartime.
It’s a chance to recognize someone who may not be able to attend a public event in their area due to health reasons. It also can be useful for a veteran who may not want to attract much attention to themselves or want publicity.
It also shows that Above and Beyond truly cares for our patients. They have become part of the lives of our staff, and we appreciate being part of theirs.
What else you can do
It’s important to us that our veterans know they are appreciated all year round, not just one day in the fall. That’s why we encourage our staff to take the time to talk to patients about their military service, whether it’s telling stories, showing off keepsakes or recognizing and paying tribute to colleagues who didn’t come home or have already died.
Sharing their stories with an appreciative audience can sometimes be therapeutic for patients, and may even provide new information to family members or loved ones who may not have heard everything. This also lets them share in the pride, and help preserve these stories for future generations.
Even people who may not be as comfortable sharing their entire military stories may be persuaded to share bits and pieces for posterity’s sake. Or if they can’t find the right words, maybe they can show or look at photos or even create a drawing. Family members can also create their own photo collage, which may be an invitation for further conversations.
Overall, Above and Beyond Home Health Care is eager to continue to recognize veterans in our community.