Each year in May more than five million caregivers are honored for their service. These are the unsung heroes who selflessly provide long-term care in support of our veterans and military families. In honor of them we would like to take a moment to say thank you and share a few ways you can show your caregiver what their service means to you.
Who is a military caregiver?
Caregivers can be spouses, parents, children, siblings, other relatives, neighbors, coworkers, or friends of veterans. In addition to physical and emotional care, caregivers often serve as advocates for their loved ones. They may work with medical professionals to ensure their loved one receives top medical care and find other helpful community resources and/or support groups.
The importance of military caregivers
Because caregivers play such an important role to our military community, RAND researchers conducted a study to pinpoint the needs of not only care, but also the caregivers themselves. A few takeaways from this research found are:
There is a lack of programs that target to provide temporary relief for caregivers.
The programs that do exist to give support for caregivers do not target their specific needs.
Caregivers are negatively affected by their daily duties. Effects of this are in the form of depression and/or other health issues; problems at work; financial strain; and distress in relationships.
Ways to honor the military caregiver in your life
So, let’s do all we can this month and every day to help show appreciation to these hidden heroes. Here are 5 ways to honor your caregiver:
Gift Them Their Favorite Treats – surprise them with their favorite desert of meal
Create a Self-Care Kit – lotions, creams, spa products
Take Them on a Fun Day Out – What does your caregiver love to do? Plan a day that is all about them.
Give Them Time Off – Plan to surprise them with a free day to catch up on rest and relaxation
Write a Thank You Letter – caretaking can feel like a thankless job. Take a moment and express gratitude for the daily service your caregiver provides to you