VA, Elizabeth Dole Foundation team up to provide respite care for military caregivers

Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs

The  Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to launch a new program giving family caregivers access to no-cost, short-term aid to help those caring for wounded, ill or injured veterans or service members in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.  

“Since the foundation first began its work, we have seen the desperate need for short-term relief among veteran caregivers,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “The lack of affordable, convenient professional respite care takes a significant toll on the emotional and physical well-being of these hidden heroes and the limitations created by the COVID-19 pandemic have further reduced their respite options.” 

Under the Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers program, caregivers of veterans can apply to receive respite care from a CareLinx professional to help with bathing, companionship, cooking, exercising, grooming, light housekeeping, medical and medication reminders, mobility assistance, transportation and other activities. 

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“Caregivers charged with caring for our nation’s veterans face new challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “They have become increasingly isolated and are hindered from getting reliable, outside help. This program provides caregivers compassionate and needed relief during this stressful time.”

The CarLinx donation of $1 million will provide more than 40,000 hours of non-medical home care for more than 1,600 caregivers and their wounded, ill, or injured. 

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“This program is a win-win for our nation’s caregivers,” said CareLinx CEO Sherwin Sheik. “ it will give family caregivers a much-needed break, enable vulnerable veterans to minimize their risk of exposure to COVID-19, and provide new rewarding work opportunities for professional caregivers."   

Respite relief will initially be available in select regions of California, Florida and Texas. The EDF will work to expand the program to other regions of the country later this year, according to a release.

Program eligibility requirements:

  1. You must be a family caregiver to a wounded, ill, or injured veteran or service member (and submit proof of service). 
  2. Requested relief support includes one of the following: companionship, light housekeeping, grocery shopping and meal preparation, transportation, mobility support/transferring, exercise, toileting, bathing, dressing and grooming. If you and your care recipient need more assistance such as assistance with administering medications, in-home physical therapy, or any other type of specialized medical care, you will not be eligible for this service at this time. 
  3. The military/veteran family must seek respite care relief in Florida, California, and Texas (and only in those zip codes with available services). 

AARP will also support the effort by sharing information about the program with their members in the selected states. 

Applicants to the Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers program will be selected and awarded by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Apply here.

Reach Julia LeDoux at
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