Here’s something great! A series on Hallmark’s “Home and Family” network is designed to help military caregivers. The series ran the week of Veteran’s Day and focused on the challenges many young caregivers face when their loved ones return wounded on the battlefield. The series features former U.S. Senator and Cabinet member Elizabeth Dole and Easter Seals CEO Jim Williams.
I learned about the series from U.S. Senator Bob Dole, who just returned from touring all 105 counties in Kansas and was getting in touch with friends.
You may recall that Senator Dole served as the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, a 1996 Presidential contender, and a World War II veteran who received the purple heart for his bravery on the battlefield.
While Senator Bob Dole represents the older generation of war heroes, younger heroes return to their U.S. homeland each week. Some are severely wounded from more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. When they return, they are oftentimes cared for by younger caregivers – people in their 20’s and 30’s – who didn’t expect to be in the position of caregiver quite so soon in their young lives.
Challenges like getting legal and financial affairs in order can be difficult for young families who have not experienced or felt the need to acquire such services. It is terribly stressful on the younger caregivers – that’s why Elizabeth Dole and the Easter Seals teamed up to help.
“Caregivers needs are enormous. They really are hidden heroes.
It’s a societal crisis that requires a national response.” — Senator Elizabeth Dole
The always compassionate Dole once ran the Red Cross. She was concerned about the challenges facing younger caregivers. She fears that they will becoming isolated. So she formed the Elizabeth Dole Foundation – Caring for Military Caregivers and recruited 50 caregivers representing all 50 states as a resource to help.
Dole realized the long marathon that military caregivers face in rehabilitating and caring for the returning soldier who comes back home with different medical and emotional needs. Many of these families are suddenly thrust into a new life as caregiver have never managed family finances or dealt with critical medical issues like traumatic brain injuries and loss of limbs.
Easter Seals is taking a major role as well and has stepped in to train 30,000 caregivers to veterans so they can cope with these issues.
Easter Seals and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation say that these acts of kindness help family caregivers respond better to new challenges that will forever change their lives. Connecting people dealing with these same issues helps with mental health, accessing resources and general well-being. Little things like respite care even for an hour or two can help. Coming into the home to help the family caregiver with things like grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, or household tasks helps tremendously.
Easter Seals has launched a webinar series on caregiving. You can view it here.
For more information, check out these links: