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Resources for Military Caregivers

service member with caregiver

Source: Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden

More than 5.5 million military caregivers provide care for service members and veterans throughout the country. Military caregivers play a crucial role in the care of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans; making sure they receive good care and properly follow any at-home care plans. Caring for a service member or veteran coping with invisible wounds can often be a demanding task. Below are some tools and resources to help you as you support your loved one’s health and well-being.

Elizabeth Dole Foundation raises awareness about military caregiving and works with caregivers and other organizations to strengthen services provided to caregivers. It provides peer support by empowering the caregiver community, building connections across private and nonprofit sectors, and offering ways to get involved both locally and nationally. The foundation offers several programs for caregivers such as:

  • Dole Caregiver Fellow Program – allows military caregivers across the country to engage in foundation programs and encourage other caregivers to share their own stories.
  • Caregiver Community Program – works with caregivers across the country to raise awareness about the role and needs of military caregivers. To join, email info@elizabethdolefoundation.org.
  • National Coalition – brings together individuals and organizations from public, private, nonprofit, labor and faith communities to build and improve programs that support caregivers. Currently, the coalition offers:
    • Bi-monthly online education seminars to focus on topics such as employment and financial resources.
    • Peer support network including one-on-one mentoring, online peer communities, and community-based peer groups.
    • Employment assistance through the Hiring Our Heroes program. The program will expand its job fair program to caregivers near military treatment facilities and also into an online career portal.

Defense Department Caregiver Resources provide tools for caregivers who support wounded, ill and injured service members. Use these resources to connect with other caregivers and share your knowledge, receive non-medical counseling, and seek advice for caregiver challenges.

  • Military Caregiver PEER Forums (Personalized Experiences, Engagement and Resources) – provides ways for caregivers to receive non-medical counseling from Military Family Life Counselors and discuss topics such as managing stress and wellness. Find a Military Caregiver PEER forum near you.
  • Monthly Virtual PEER Forums – gives caregivers the ability to ask any questions and share knowledge online. Forums meet the fourth Thursday of every month. You must RSVP to attend. 
  • Caregivers Resource Directory – connects you to resources and information to help you successfully care for your service member or veteran, while also taking care of yourself. Topics include caregiver support, health care needs, peer support and suicide prevention. You can download [PDF 2.61MB] or order the directory free of charge.
  • Webinars and Events – address topics such as how to help families manage new challenges, including coping with invisible wounds. Check Military OneSource for the schedule.
  • Respite Care – receive short-term rest from caregiver duties to help maintain your health and well-being.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Caregiver Support offers programs at your local VA or at home to help care for you and your veteran. Use the resources below to access support services and engage your fellow caregivers.

  • Caregiver Support Line (855-260-3274) – speak with a licensed professional about the services offered through a VA Medical Center near you.
  • Caregiver Support Coordinator – work with a local licensed professional who can give you useful information about available services and support, such as free online workshops, and connect you with resources in your community.
  • Respite Care – receive up to 30-days short-term rest from caregiver duties to maintain your health and well-being.
  • Services for Family Caregivers of Post 9/11 Veterans– receive additional services through the new Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers including access to health care insurance, counseling and respite care. To be part of the program, the caregiver must be the veteran’s spouse, child, parent, or extended family member and must live with the veteran full time.
  • Peer Support Mentoring Program – connects caregivers to one another for support, to share experiences and learn from each other. The program is open to caregivers, past and present, supporting veterans. Typically, you participate for six months or longer.

Find additional VA services such as the Caregiver Toolbox.

As a military caregiver, your support aids your service member or veteran to live a better life, which can be deeply rewarding. At the same time, this role can be challenging and affect your overall emotional and physical health. You are not alone. If you are looking for additional caregiver resources and support, contact the Psychological Health Resource Center to speak confidentially with a trained health resource consultant 24/7 by calling 866-966-1020, using the Real Warriors Live Chat or emailing resources@dcoeoutreach.org.

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