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Combined Insurance Salutes the Heroes Behind the Heroes

There are all kinds of heroes. Obvious ones, like those who provide our first defense when our life or liberty is at risk, protect the public, fight fires, perform rescues and help us survive, even in the darkest of times like war or natural disaster. But there are others, quieter and hidden, courageously providing care for our wounded service members and Veterans. These support providers deliver an invaluable amount of essential care and services. They are often the unsung heroes when a serviceperson is sick or injured.

According to the RAND Military Caregivers Study, military caregivers:

  • Are numerous and expected to grow in number. Representing an estimated 5.5 million people in the United States, almost 20 percent are caring for post-911 Veterans.
  • Provide a significant amount of care. Twelve percent of post-9/11 military caregivers and 10 percent of pre-9/11 military caregivers spent more than 40 hours per week providing care.
  • Struggle with challenges in their own lives. Military caregivers report worse health outcomes, more stress in relationships and more workplace problems than non-caregivers. Post-9/11 military caregivers fare worst in these areas.
  • Donate highly-valued time and services. Post-9/11 caregiver duties are valued at almost $3 billion (in 2011 dollars). Lost productivity for these military caregivers is estimated at $5.9 billion (in 2011 dollars).
  • Differ depending on relationship to 9/11. When compared to pre-9/11 military caregivers, post-9/11 military caregivers are younger, caring for a younger Veteran coping with mental health or substance abuse, employed and unconnected to a support network.

The need for military caregiver support is crucial and thankfully, a growing number of programs provide caregiver-focused resources can assist with the demands caregiving involves.

Various nonprofits and the Defense Department provide caregiver resources that foster connections, provide non-medical counseling, give advice and help caregivers find respite care. Also, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shares local level support for the military caregiver. A comprehensive list of support offerings can be found here. link opens in a new window

Providing care for a military Veteran helps our service members go on to live better lives, but it can be incredibly challenging. If you or someone you know is caring for military loved one, it’s crucial to seek out the support of existing programs. Ensuring caregiver health, both mental and physical, allows them continue to meet the demands of military caregiving.

 

References:

Key Facts and Statistics from the RAND Military Caregivers Study http://www.rand.org/pubs/presentations/PT124.html.link opens in a new window

Hidden Heroes America’s Military Caregivers—Executive Summary http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR499z1.html.link opens in a new window

http://www.rand.org/blog/2014/03/a-world-without-americas-military-caregivers.html.link opens in a new window

http://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/caregiver-resources/.link opens in a new window

http://www.realwarriors.net/family/support/caregiver-resources.php.link opens in a new window