Veteran’s Caregiver Alliance created exclusively to meet the needs of often-overlooked heroes
LEESBURG, Va. – More than 1.1 million family members currently care for our nation’s severely wounded post-9/11 Veterans. These often-overlooked women and men also must carry the burden of maintaining their household and raising children, throughout the Veteran’s years-long recovery.
The U.S. Veterans Administration, and many not-for-profit organizations – such as the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes – are dedicated to supporting the needs of America’s wounded Veterans. But significant gaps exist in the critical support provided to their caregivers.
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes – a not-for-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely wounded veterans of the War on Terror – announced today the official launch of its Veteran’s Caregiver Alliance® , a groundbreaking new membership program dedicated to improving the quality of life for the primary caregivers of our nation’s combat-wounded post-9/11 veterans.
The Alliance was built from the ground up “For Caregivers, By Caregivers.” Thirteen representatives of the Coalition’s signature Heroes Thanking Heroes program – all caregivers themselves – designed the program to provide the support, respite and personal connections needed by this exclusive community.
“Nobody understands the daily challenges of caring for a severely injured veteran better than a fellow caregiver,” said Ashlee Williams, Director of the Veteran’s Caregiver Alliance Program. “While we would never minimize the physical, psychological and emotional struggles of our loved ones, our burdens are real, too. The Veteran’s Caregiver Alliance is the only program of its kind focused on easing those burdens. We are extraordinarily proud of what we’ve created, and we’re thrilled with the feedback we received during our initial tests. We think the Alliance is going to change many lives for the better, and perhaps even save some.”
“Caregiver Syndrome” and “Caregiver Burnout” are two conditions common in the caregiver community. Caregiver Syndrome strongly manifests exhaustion, anger, rage or guilt resulting from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill patient. Typical symptoms of this syndrome include fatigue, insomnia, stomach complaints and depression.
Caregiver Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude – from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Caregivers who are “burned out” may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression.
The Veteran’s Caregiver Alliance is a free program that meets its members where they are. Alliance representatives provide direct services – including mentoring support and camaraderie – as well as access to public and private services provided by like-minded VSOs, government agencies and community organizations. Members are invited to attend monthly caregiver meetings, apply for various scholarships, pursue Skillsoft online educational opportunities, receive free financial coaching and enjoy discounted benefits from participating retailers. A monthly newsletter provides helpful articles and event updates and informs members about the Alliance’s constantly expanding roster of benefits.
Alliance members must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:
- Your Veteran sustained an injury during combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn or in support of those operations in a hostile environment.
- Your Veteran must have a disability rating assigned by the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs of 30 percent or greater from a single, sustained injury.
- You must live in the home with the veteran you are caring for.
“The care and compassion from one caregiver to another is a bond that is not easily broken,” Williams continued. “By making meaningful connections, we offer comfort, support and, at times, a shoulder to cry on from someone who truly understands. As one of our members put so well, ‘a happy spouse makes a happy house!”
For actual testimonials from the initial rollout of the Alliance, please visit saluteheroes.org/veterans-caregiver-alliance.
About the Coalition
Since its establishment in 2004, the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes has provided an immediate, invaluable lifeline to thousands of America’s combat-wounded veterans. The Leesburg, Va.-based organization is distinguished from other veteran-focused groups by its direct financial assistance to America’s wounded heroes. Its Emergency Financial Aid program has stopped foreclosure proceedings on veterans’ homes and kept their vehicles from being repossessed. Its innovative Heroes Thanking Heroes program provides transitional, part-time, flexible employment to nearly 50 combat-wounded veterans or their primary caregivers, enabling them to make phone calls from their homes, usually to personally thank donors for their contributions to the Coalition.
For more information on the Coalition, and to learn how you can support its mission, visit www.saluteheroes.org. Combat-wounded/disabled OIF/OEF/OND veterans are invited to join the Coalition and expand their camaraderie network by enrolling in the Veteran Circle program at http://saluteheroes-vetcircle.org.