5 Ways Home Care Can Benefit Veterans
Home care can play a key role in improving veterans’ quality of life, especially those living with ongoing medical conditions.
With rates of PTSD soaring and one in four military families caring for a deployed family member at home, it’s more important than ever to ensure that those who have served their country receive the comprehensive home-care services they deserve.
Let’s take a look at 5 ways home care services can benefit veterans.
Home care supports veterans’ independence
Not everyone wants to move into an assisted-living facility or head to a nursing home once it’s too challenging to manage alone. In fact, a poll of people aged 50 and older, conducted by the AARP revealed that over 76% of older people would like to stay in their home and remain independent and self-sufficient in their community for as long as possible.
Considering that in the U.S. alone, 30% of American men aged 64-74 are veterans, while 44% of veterans are over 74, it’s becoming clear that more alternative care options for them will be needed in the future.
Veterans choose to live independently for a number of reasons, including:
Continuity: Having a home base to return to ensures veterans feel safe and in control of their environment—something that may have been lacking while on duty.
Purpose: It’s a small thing, but connecting with a caregiver and having a home routine can help veterans feel a sense of purpose, even if their routine is simple.
Comfort: Being around familiar objects and belongings provides a sense of comfort for veterans and many would remain in place as they age.
If you’re a veteran who wants to remain independent, there are government home care benefits available.
Veterans are entitled to access government benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they meet certain criteria. An assigned social worker can assess their needs and match them with appropriate home care, or advocate for more care.
Home care helps with tasks like shopping and cooking
Compared to people who haven’t served, research shows that veterans have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) and are less likely to eat a nutritionally well-rounded diet. The simple act of providing a nutritious home-cooked meal can make a big difference to a veteran’s overall health and wellbeing.
Following a diet that’s low in saturated fats—but high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, nuts, and lean sources of protein—has many benefits for veterans:
Improves heart health: Eating leafy greens, berries, and omega-rich protein like salmon can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Enhances mood: Avoiding refined carbohydrates and embracing foods with a lower glycemic load like whole fruit and whole grains keep your mood even and stable.
Manages existing conditions: While you should always consult with a doctor about your health needs, limiting processed foods and focusing on a nutritious diet can help manage other health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
In-home caregivers can look at a veteran’s specific dietary needs, food preferences or nutritional requirements and make sure they’re providing well-balanced meals throughout the day. Veterans can turn to caregivers for grocery shopping, meal planning, and anything else they require—even dish washing.
Home care helps veterans stay active in the community
Returning to civilian life can be an adjustment for many veterans. The places they liked to go, the people they used to see, and the activities they once enjoyed can feel strange after being away and in combat.
But you don’t have to go it alone. Home care for veterans help them stay mobile and engaged with their community. Veterans can find peace of mind, knowing they can re-enter their community at their own pace, and with someone who understands their situation.
On top of helping veterans rebuild their confidence, caregivers can help with the practical necessities of daily life.
From driving to doctor’s appointments, community meet-ups, or a grocery store that’s out of walking range, caregivers will make sure veterans have their social and transportation needs met.
Home care supports veterans’ medical needs
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that veterans may need quality medical care after being in the line of duty. So what happens when veterans who have behavioral, medical, or cognitive challenges that affect their ability to function independently at home? What if veterans prefer to stay at home instead of moving to a more specialized medical facility?
Home care services can help fill this gap. A qualified home care nurse can provide veterans with around-the-clock care, monitor their health symptoms, and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible in their environment.
Caregivers are trained to help veterans with a number of things, including basic care needs like taking medicines, eating meals, and hygiene. They can also support more complex care needs such as managing PTSD symptoms and pain management.
Instilling good routines and meeting their medical needs can help veterans return to a high level of functioning at home. Plus, it avoids any disruption to a veteran’s lifestyle. Veterans’ can continue to maintain their personal relationships, and welcome their loved ones into their home whenever they like.
Home care provides companionship and emotional support
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with a physical or mental health issue or disability, you know how isolating it can feel. Many veterans know this feeling well, with 44% reporting feelings of loneliness at least some of the time.
For the most part, research on the effect of loneliness on veterans’ health has been low to non-existent—with many primary care physicians staying away from the topic completely. But in a 2018 study on loneliness in veterans showed that loneliness was linked to depression symptoms more than any of the other forms of social connectedness.
Home care services like Nurse Next Door value the caregiver–patient relationship. A good caregiver match has benefits that stretch beyond the physical care a veteran might need.
Finding a caregiver with a complementary personality, similar interests, or life experiences can help veterans feel more comfortable sharing their stories or experiences of illness and recovery. In other words, a real connection.
Having a reliable companion can be the fastest and most authentic way to ease any feelings of loneliness and isolation.