Military Caregivers: Cornerstones of Support for Our Nation's Wounded, Ill, and Injured Veterans

Military Caregivers: Cornerstones of Support for Our Nation's Wounded, Ill, and Injured Veterans

Military Caregivers: Cornerstones of Support for Our Nation's Wounded, Ill, and Injured Veterans

Military Caregivers: Cornerstones of Support for Our Nation's Wounded, Ill, and Injured Veterans

Synopsis

Military caregivers are an essential part of our nation's ability to care for returning wounded warriors. Far too often, their own needs are neglected. The RAND Corporation and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation collaborated on a first, exploratory phase of a larger research effort regarding this demographic and its needs. The paper explores what is known about the number and characteristics of military caregivers, describes the roles and functions they perform, and highlights the effect of caregiving on their own well-being. Most existing literature on family caregivers is heavily focused on an older population caring for persons with chronic conditions or dementia. By comparison, research on military caregivers is scant, and there are notable differences that make this population unique: Military caregivers are spouses with young children, parents with full- and part-time jobs, and sometimes even young children helping shoulder some of the burden. Government services available to this population are in their infancy; community service organizations offer diverse services but they are generally uncoordinated. This paper lays the groundwork to inform policy and program development relative to the unique needs of military caregivers.

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