Veteran Respite Relief

Respite Relief for Military & Veteran Caregivers

What is Respite Relief?

Respite care provides temporary relief to the primary caregiver. It provides a much-needed break and an opportunity for caregivers to focus on themselves and their needs. It is imperative for caregivers to avoid burnout and have a chance to recharge in order to continue providing care. This temporary care enables caregivers to take a break from the daily demands of caregiving, help relieve stress, restore energy, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

Why is Caregiver Respite Important?

Caregiving is a demanding job. Those who provide care for service members and veterans are truly hidden heroes. These caregivers sacrifices their livelihoods as they provide full-time care to create a better-quality of life for injured, ill, or disabled service members and veterans.

Veterans suffer more frequently from traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, paralysis or spinal cord injury, and more. These veterans need full-time care in order to navigate these chronic mental and physical conditions. Performing the caregiver role to disabled or injured service members is incredibly important, but it can impose a significant toll on caregivers emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Military and veteran caregivers often don’t ask for help. In fact, many have no support network whatsoever. But they desperately need and deserve our support! Every caregiver can benefit from respite relief and is deserving of respite relief. Seeking support and maintaining your own health are key to managing your role as a caregiver. After a much-needed break to recharge your batteries, you will likely feel more energetic, focused, and ready to resume your caregiving role.

How Can You Help?

Respite relief can profoundly and positively impact a caregiver’s daily life, ensuring they are able to experience a good quality of life as well.

If you are a friend or family member of a disabled or non-disabled veteran caregiver, there are many simple ways you can offer them some much-needed support and respite. Too many caregivers make their own well-being a low priority as they juggle their many responsibilities. As a result, they need the gift of time in order to take care of themselves and recharge. If you are able, reach out to the caregiver, offer your sincere support, and ask how you can best help them.

This could include offering a weekly slot of time in which you stand in and provide the veteran companionship while the caregiver is able to recharge with some alone time, take a walk around the neighborhood, go to a personal appointment, attend a support group, etc. In addition, the caregiver may need help with simple daily chores on a recurring basis. Offering to go grocery shopping, do meal prepping, or assist with cleaning can take a huge weight off a caregiver’s shoulders.

Program Options: Respite Relief for Military & Veteran Caregivers

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, has created a new program called Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers. It offers family caregivers of veterans or service members access to free, short-term relief with the help of in-home care professionals. Other program partners include CareLinx and the Wounded Warrior Project, both of which donated one million to fund the program.

The program offers a maximum of 16 hours of no-cost respite care to qualifying military and veteran caregivers with a required minimum of 4 hours used per respite session. Recipients can use their hours within 12 months of their application’s approval. The program is currently accepting one application per caregiver per year.

Program Qualifications

To qualify, applicants must provide care to a wounded, ill, or injured veteran or service and submit proof of service. Applicants of any age can apply but must be a family member of the veteran or service member they care for. The injury, disability, or illness does not have to be connected to their military service in order for caregivers to be eligible for the program. Lastly, applicants must seek respite relief care within the 50 U.S. states.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation R&R Review Committee is made up of military and veteran spouses and family members as well as caregivers themselves. The committee reviews applications on a rolling basis and often communicates its decisions within 2-3 weeks of receiving the application. Preference is given to those who have lost normal respite assistance, have lost their job, or been unable to attend regular appointments.

What Services Are Included with the RR Program?

Once caregivers are notified that they have been selected for the service, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation staff will transfer their information to the CareLinx team, who will reach out to the caregiver and match them with a suitable short-term caregiver. The selected caregivers will then be given instructions on how to book their respite hours.

The Respite Relief program also understands if veterans do not feel comfortable having a stranger come into their home to provide these services. As an alternative, the program allows for caregivers to have the option to hire someone they know, such as a neighbor, family member, or friend. CareLinx will onboard the chosen caregiver, and the individual will be paid for the hours of respite care they provide.

The Respite Relief services include: meals, housekeeping, transportation, exercise, companionship, mobility, medicine reminders, bathing, grooming, and toileting needs. The program does not provide intensive medical care services, but the CareLinx provider can still provide much-needed daily support in the form of grocery shopping, meal prepping, light housekeeping, or performing other day-to-day chores.

Are you interested in learning more about Respite Relief for Military & Veteran Caregivers? Visit the Elizabeth Dole Foundation here to learn more or click here to directly apply for the program.

The Epic Artwork Story

Epic Artwork & Photo all started in 2005 when Andrew Bourne was deployed to Iraq at the Syrian border. He needed a camera for intelligence reasons, so his wife Karen sent him a digital camera. He also photographed the life of the Iraqi people around him. After he returned to the states in 2006 and Karen had a chance to finally view all the images that he took, she realized that Andrew had captured beautiful and harrowing images that later earned him a gallery show.

While in Iraq, Andrew suffered a traumatic brain injury. When he was finally diagnosed in 2008, he was told he needed a hobby to help rework the neurons in his brain, so when he brought up doing live event photography to Karen, she encouraged him to do so. Not only was live event photography a tangible exercise in therapeutic mindfulness, but it also engaged the brain and encouraged the development of neuroplasticity.

Andrew and Karen Bourne are a traveling photography duo with incredible experience and passion. Check out Epic Artwork and Photo’s portfolio here to explore their live event photography and the images Andrew captured in Iraq.

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