‘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 …

Stand Guard Against Veterans Scams

As we honor our former military personnel, Veterans Day is also a good time to recognize the year-round attempts to defraud them and to take advantage of those who appreciate their sacrifice and service. In some scams, veterans are specifically targeted. In others, fraudsters impersonate active-duty or former soldiers or claim to be working on their behalf to con patriotic civilians. A rundown of common schemes: Charity scams: Bogus charities that claim to benefit veterans are also among the most successful schemes, …

Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits Can Help, But Process Difficult

When I first started investigating the Veterans Administration’s Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits program for my Dad, a decorated WWII Veteran who earned the Bronze Star while serving in Italy with the 10th Mountain Division, I was excited to learn that he might qualify for some financial assistance to help with the cost of his care. Aid and Attendance is an enhanced or special monthly pension program for certain veterans who require care. Dad has developed Alzheimer’s disease and …