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How to Support a Veteran as Their Caregiver

At any given time, over 25% of patients being served by Four Seasons are Veterans. We understand first-hand the additional challenges you may face caring for a Veteran. This post will give you helpful tips for caring for your loved one, as well as how Four Seasons can help support you. This information is adapted from an interview with Qwynn Galloway-Salazar, an end-of-life doula who specializes in veteran care, for End-Of-Life University Podcast. Request care from Four Seasons at any time online or by phone.


Be aware of stoicism when assessing your loved one for symptoms.

Military culture is heavily focused on strength, both physical and emotional. Showing emotions or pain can be seen as weakness. Veterans, particularly those who had lengthy military careers, may be reluctant to express how they are really feeling for fear of being seen as weak. One helpful way to determine how your loved one is feeling is to utilize a simple scale that allows them to rank the severity of their symptoms in a less intrusive way. You can also encourage your loved one to be more open with medical personnel by kindly and gently reminding them that pain, discomfort, worry, and more are common and normal. Remind them that you are here for them, and you do not see them as a weak person.


Ask about their military service

If your veteran is someone who enjoys sharing their military experience, finding pride in the work they did, ask them questions about their service. Find out what conflict they served in and ask what it was like to be part of history. Invite them to share stories about their friends, their joys, and their sorrows of military service. Sit with them in those memories with compassion and sympathy. If your loved one declines to share, remember to respect their wish and don’t press them further. They will share what they would like when they are ready.


Be sensitive to shame, survivor’s guilt, and other emotions

Veterans can experience additional emotional tolls as a result of their military experiences including shame and guilt. These emotions can cause some veterans to withdraw from or push away people who want to help them. Understanding that this is not personal to you as the caregiver is important. Provide your loved one with a safe, non-judgmental space where they feel supported enough to speak freely about their feelings. If they do not wish to share with you, continue to provide them with lots of love, sympathy, compassion, and kindness. As mentioned before, they will open up when they are ready.


Build trust by providing companions who are also veterans

Four Seasons can match volunteers who are also veterans to provide companionship to your loved one. If your loved one has friends who were also in the military and they are able, inviting them to visit can be another way to connect your loved one with other veterans. Having a companion who understands their experiences first-hand builds trust and allows veterans to express emotions or experiences they might be hesitant to share with others.


Care for yourself

Being the primary caregiver for your loved one is always difficult, but caregivers of veterans can face additional challenges because of the additional mental and physical toll of military service. Remember that self-care is not selfish. You must be at your best to provide the best care for your loved one. Running on empty can ultimately harm you and your loved one in the long run. Four Seasons is here for you as the caregiver, too. We provide physical support for your loved one while also giving you the support you need, whether it be through respite care, Grief Services, Care Navigation, a spiritual counselor, or more.


Contact Four Seasons for additional support.

What are some of the benefits of palliative and hospice care for veterans?

Research shows that palliative and hospice care can improve quality of life for those living with serious illness. What are some of the specific ways Palliative and Hospice care can help veterans?


Four Seasons Palliative and Hospice Care provide spiritual and emotional support

In addition to providing care for the physical symptoms of a serious illness, Palliative and Hospice Care also include emotional support. For veterans who may experience mental and emotional challenges as a result of their military service, this type of support is especially beneficial. At Four Seasons, our spiritual counselors, music therapists, and Grief Services counselors are equipped to support the patient and family regardless of your religion, worldview, beliefs, or background. Our staff can help guide you and your loved one through difficult conversations, questions about life and death, and more.


Four Seasons provides support for the caregiver and family

It can be challenging to be the primary caregiver for your loved one. Caring for a veteran can be an additional challenge because of their experiences in the military. Empathizing, providing care for your loved one, and caring for yourself all at once can quickly become a heavy load to carry. Four Seasons offers Care Navigation, Home Care, and emotional support to provide you rest while your loved one continues to receive care. Additionally, we have volunteers who are also veterans and can provide companionship, understanding, and comfort for your veteran. We can help you enjoy more quality time with your loved one and give you rest as the caregiver.


Four Seasons partners with We Honor Veterans

We Honor Veterans is a national program that provides education, resources, and support to organizations who treat veterans frequently, including hospices. As a level 4 member of We Honor Veterans, you can trust that your loved one will receive compassionate care that meets their unique challenges and needs as a veteran. Four Seasons provides pinning ceremonies to each veteran in our hospice care where they are specially recognized for their service to our country. During the ceremony attended by families and friends, a current military officer salutes the hospice veteran. The veteran is then presented with a certificate, blanket, and pin. Four Seasons Music Therapists also sing their service branch’s military anthem and other songs as requested by the veteran and family. These customized ceremonies allow family and friends to thank and honor their loved one for their sacrifice in a special way.

Four Seasons is here for you. Request care today.

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