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VA Palo Alto Health Care System
VAPAHCS Celebrates Caregivers of VA Veterans
Thursday, November 3, 2016In honor of National Caregivers Month this November, many VA hospitals will hold events across the country that aim to celebrate caregivers who provide care to ill, injured or disabled Veterans. This year’s theme is “Take Care to Give Care” and at VA Palo Alto Health Care System, it is the biggest year yet as the Caregiver Support Program will be celebrating at the VA’s San Jose, Monterey, Stockton and Livermore campuses.
Approximately 40 million family caregivers in the US provide an estimated 37 billion hours of care. Over half of the caregivers report they are employed while providing care to their loved one.
“Caregivers of Veterans are unsung heroes. We want to show them how much they are appreciated, provide them with resources, and show them that they are not alone,” said Lori Kott, Caregiver Support Coordinator for VAPAHCS.
Those providing care to VA enrolled Veterans can range from 20 to 90 years old and are often caring for a family member. Their hard work, along with the rest of America, makes it possible to save an estimated $470 billion that would normally be spent on care.
Appreciation events at VAPAHCS will help to give these hard workers a break with some sites providing self-care education and speakers from the VA Chaplain Service. All of the events will treat the caregivers to lunch and treats, while allowing them to meet other caregivers and VA staff.
Kott says the biggest takeaway is meeting other caregivers.
“Many of our caregivers have broken down after attending the events because they no longer feel alone and isolated. It’s beautiful to witness,” she said.
The Caregiver Support Program was initiated in 2011 at VA health care systems across the country to provide resources for Veteran caregivers. Monthly support groups are held to provide education, resources and networking with other caregivers to help cope with their loved one’s condition.
With a fast aging population of Veterans, the program is looking to expand support to more rural areas to ensure all have the support needed.
Caregivers of VA enrolled Veterans who might be looking for support can contact the National Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274 or visit the Caregiver website.