Letters to the Editor

Respite care provides much needed break for caregivers

As a Dole Caregiver Fellow representing Washington, I am proud to advocate for our nation's incredible community of military and veteran caregivers, and on behalf of the veterans in our lives.

My husband was medically retired after serving 28 years in the Army and has struggled with his combat related injuries, which are not visible, for years. On his worst days, he needs emergency medical care to manage his pain; it’s not uncommon for him to be admitted to the hospital.

When he is struggling with pain, it greatly limits what our family can do. It affects my ability to work, whether or not I can take my children on an outing, or even have the time to sit down and write something like this.

This November marks National Family Caregivers Month, with the theme of respite care, or the opportunity to take a break from the demands of being a caregiver.

Respite can mean different things for different people. For me, it’s as simple as having the time to take a shower before rushing my husband to medical appointments, or spending time at the local community garden. It can also mean the ability to connect with friends and family around the world, or with my online support group.

This November I encourage readers to learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which provides resources for our growing community of military and veteran caregivers, and for every American who wants to support hidden caregiver heroes with respite care.