Veterans Day and National Caregiving Month: We Salute Our Heroes

November is National Family Caregiver month — when we recognize and honor the 40 million family caregivers across this country. Family caregivers are “first responders” in the delivery of long-term services and supports (LTSS). They assist family members or friends with personal care and other vital activities to help them remain in their homes and communities. Across the United States, family caregivers identify, arrange and coordinate services and supports, administer medications, assist with personal care, and perform other vital activities …

Support by, and for, Caregivers: A Veteran’s Story

I am a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, having deployed on two different ships four times to the then-war-torn country. I married the love of my life, Mary, after my first deployment in 1970. Looking back these 46 years, I am so glad I married early in life; it enabled us to have so many wonderful times together, raise a family, have careers, travel the world and enjoy our marriage. And looking back, it also bought us some years …

‘Hidden Heroes’ Care for Children Who Are Wounded Warriors

For most of us, Veterans Day brings parades and one-day sales. However, more than 5.5 million Americans spend every day honoring a veteran by providing hands-on emotional and physical care. “Hidden heroes” is the name given those caregivers by a Rand Corporation study. While all veterans’ caregivers carry a burden, the study found that the 1.1 million assisting post-9/11 military shoulder a particularly difficult task because many of these young vets suffer from “invisible” combat wounds. Nearly two-thirds have mental …

To All Veterans: AARP Extends Gratitude and Support

Veterans Day began when an unknown World War I American soldier was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1921. Similar ceremonies, at the identical hour, took place at Westminster Abbey in London and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. All three nations were honoring veterans’ service, and celebrating the arrival of peace — a peace that was hoped to be permanent, with the end of the …

In Search of My Veteran Dad’s WWII Memories

As my dad’s memories fade due to Alzheimer’s disease, the list of things that still stick with him gets increasingly shorter. My mom’s name is frequently on his lips, even though she passed on a year ago. His service dog, Mr. Jackson, is still his key companion and, even when he can’t remember his name, he looks for “the dog.” And he still knows the 10th Mountain Division, with whom he served in World War II as they drove the Nazis and Mussolini …

Supporting Veterans and Family Caregivers at Home

Several months ago,  I met Doug and Michelle Mercer of McAlester, Okla. Doug had been home from Iraq for only four days when he suffered debilitating injuries in a serious motorcycle accident. Three and a half years later, he is still recovering brain function, he uses a wheelchair and he needs help 24/7. Following a short stint in rehab, Doug came home with his wife, Michelle, as his caregiver. Without any instruction, she had to perform complicated medical tasks to help …