Introduced in the Senate on 3/24/2014, Senate Resolution 395 passed unanimously without amendment on 3/26/2014
Designates the month of April 2014 as Military and Veterans Caregiver Month. Honors caregivers of members of the Armed Forces and veterans for their service and sacrifice to the United States. Calls upon the people of the United States to observe such month and to participate in activities that will show support to military families and their sacrifices in service to the United States.
There’s been a lot of attention in the Media lately, focusing on the heroes behind the heroes – the caregivers of our wounded warriors. Please, take the time to watch some of these stories to understand what it’s like. It’s only a glimpse into our world. You can’t truly know what it’s like until you walk in our shoes. And it’s different for each veteran, but still the same. If that even makes sense.
As a military child who grew up to be a military spouse, I learned to be the foundation of the family. It is our duty to be seen and not heard. To stay strong in the winds of change. To be the shoulder everyone leans on. The military never issued the soldier a family. Therefore, the military never thought twice about us.
It’s bad enough for our veterans. Once their military service is done, the government has no use for them. They are cut loose to fend for themselves, like a baby cub kicked from the den. Only, they are swept under the rug, hidden, forgotten. Many go untreated, or at the bare minimum, mistreated. The VA only treats the symptoms, never the cause. It’s like putting a band-aid over a severed limb. Now as a caregiver for my veteran, I see it worse than I ever have.
I’m not allowed to check on any of his claims. I’m not allowed to do anything with his medical. I can’t do anything “official.” I can drive him to his appointments, but more often than not, I’m not allowed in with him, especially when it comes to his C&P appointments, the ones where if he forgets something minor, could cost him his claim. I drive him everywhere because of the pain and his medication. I have to leave work early, or take time off for his appointments, or taking care of our son because he can’t, or sometimes when he’s going through a really bad patch. I’m the one who works a minimum of 8 hours a day, comes home and runs errands and cooks and cleans and helps our son with his homework & extra curricular activities. I’m the one who manages all the finances, all the appointments, keeping track of everything that needs to be done. I’m the one who should be out there taking care of our lawn but I can’t because I’m so exhausted. Overwhelmed is an understatement. I can’t even think straight sometimes and I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of what I do. There are times when wish someone would take care of me… but then, that’d be selfish, right? And that’s when the guilt creeps in.
Last week, The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and her Fellows, nearly one from each state, were up on Capital Hill addressing Congress. They brought awareness of our constant struggles in our every day lives taking care of our wounded veterans…the ones they’ve dismissed but still need help, support, love, and care. Taking care of our veterans should be a given. We should not have to fight for that. But we have in the past, and still do today. Now younger generation wounded warriors and their caregivers are mounting in numbers. We’re finding that the struggle behind the scenes is growing exponentially. We all need help. Each and every one of us. We are not alone in our struggles, our feelings, our wants and needs. We just need to open up more to those around, get more understanding and support, have our stories heard, so we can have the help we need so we can continue taking care of our heroes.
Watch Senator Patty Murray introduce a new bill to expand the current Veteran’s Caregiver Support Program.
- Short: Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2014 as introduced.
- Official: A bill to expand eligibility for the program of comprehensive assistance for family caregivers of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to expand benefits available to participants under such program, to enhance special compensation for members of the uniformed services who require assistance in everyday life, and for other purposes. as introduced.
Please, if you support our troops, if you support our veterans, please support those who care for them! Call, email, write a letter to your senator to tell them to support this bill. (Find your Senator here.) It’s in its infancy but if we can garner enough support, quickly, maybe we could get this bill through and make it law faster than my husband’s claim process!