Caregiving has changed over the last several decades. In the 60’s my grandmother was the sole caregiver for my grandfather, with as much help from my mom as she could give. It soon became clear that it was not enough, and he ended his days in a nursing home.

Then came the home care boom and home care agencies proliferated, hiring teams of personal care or home health care aides. Some were reliable and caring, others not so much. Yes, the caregiver could go off to work and leave their loved one in (hopefully) good hands. But the cost was often prohibitive, especially if the family member did not earn more than the hired caregiver.

Finally, the light dawned and insurance companies, governments, and the health care system realized that the best caregivers are family and friends. And yes, they should receive support and compensation, based on criteria of care needs. Eureka! (Duh) Who knows best what their loved one needs, or how best to give them care, but family? With support, education, and ways to reach out, family caregivers can be more effective than RNs who do not know their loved one as well.

Kudos to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Our veterans deserve the very best care possible, and like all of us, do best in the bosom of their own family. Not only is the veteran better cared for, it makes economic sense to provide payment for family caregivers, which eventually creates tax dollars. A win-win, if ever there was one.

V.A. Caregiver Support Systems

If you are a caregiver for a veteran, follow the links below to get information, and even an application form, for caregiver support and payment as a caregiver. If you are beginning the caregiving role, it is good to know what help is available to prevent burnout.

God bless veterans and their caregivers!