When you think of a person with a known health issue, you tend to mention that person by name. When a good friend, neighbor, family member, or distant relative gets sick or injured, it becomes personal. Just this week, a good friend of mine experienced the joy of bringing a newborn child into the world AND losing his Mother on the same day. His Mom was a Military Spouse who lived a wonderful life in spite of having endured and overcome many personal hardships when her WWII Veteran Husband fought and got wounded in the war. These were the days before instant communication made vital details available and news from the warfront arrived slowly.

Fast forward to life after the military for this fine military couple and the stories could captivate you for hours. I had the honor and privilege to listen and learn from this power couple. I and many others were positively influenced by their outlook on life, living by example, and the welcoming nature of their home and family history.

I remember my late Parents' decision to move into an assisted living center. It seemed as though a struggle existed between giving up a life of independence & home ownership and living amongst the masses & away from familiarity. Before this move, my Sisters and Nieces offered their time and support and served as caregivers from time-to-time. A caregiver can make a huge difference in the lives of those who need extra help. The decision to reside in a new place for the next chapter in life never comes easy. Sometimes the decision injuries sustained in combat make the decision for you. Providing care takes a personal sacrifice, time, an emotional toll, and other challenges.

Whether talking about my Friend's Parents or my own, you might relate to this story. You might even be a caregiver for someone in need. Maybe you have a Wounded Warrior to care for.

The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Public Law 111-163, was enacted on May 5, 2010, and required VA to begin providing caregiver support by January 30, 2011:

  • Provides veterans' caregivers with training, counseling, supportive services, and a living stipend; provides health care to the family caregivers of injured veterans under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA); requires independent oversight of the caregiver program;
  • Requires VA to report to Congress on its comprehensive assessment of the barriers in providing health care to the 1.8 million women veterans' currently receiving VA health care and it requires VA to train its mental health providers in the treatment of military sexual trauma. It also mandates that VA implement pilot programs to provide child care to women veterans receiving medical care and provide readjustment services to women veterans;
  • Expands VA's authority to provide incentives so that VA can recruit and retain high-quality health care providers; provides travel reimbursements for veterans receiving treatment at VA facilities and grants for veterans service organizations transporting veterans residing in highly rural areas;
  • Authorizes the Secretary to utilize non-VA facilities for the care and treatment of veterans suffering from TBI when the Secretary: (1) is unable to provide such treatment or services at the frequency or for the duration necessary; or (2) determines that it is optimal to the veteran's recovery and rehabilitation;
  • Establishes and increases eligibility for Iraq and Afghanistan service members, including National Guard and Reserve members, to receive readjustment counseling; requires VA to conduct a study on veteran suicides;
  • Emphasizes VA's commitment to provide medical care for certain Vietnam-era veterans exposed to herbicide and Gulf-War era veterans who have insufficient medical evidence to establish a service-connected disability; and
  • Eliminates copayments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled.

If you're a caregiver, or know someone who is, please share this information with them.