As a family caregiver, you provide an immeasurable service that deeply affects the quality of life for the person you care for. The love, energy and sacrifice you pour into your caregiver role is no small task. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes the important contribution of family caregivers in support of the health and wellness of Veterans. Millions of Veterans who have suffered injury or illness in service to our nation are often taken care of by a family member who steps in at the most critical moment. VA offers a number of services through their Caregiver Support Program (CSP) to support family caregivers, including peer support mentoring, skills training, coaching, telephone support, online programs and referrals to other resources.
When you are caring for a Veteran, it is important to recognize the potential impacts your role will have on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Caregivers spend a significant amount of energy and attention on the needs of others and sometimes can experience burnout, lose sight of their own needs and become depleted. Lou Anne Bates is the caregiver for her husband, an Army Veteran. She was struggling with stress and other medical issues which left her unable to walk. After reaching out to CSP and several other programs, she and her husband have been able to take “leaps and bounds towards healing” in the last year. Read the letter she wrote to her fellow caregivers, posted on the VAntage Point blog, offering encouragement and sharing her story and resources in hopes of helping other caregivers get the support they need.