Respite program for military caregivers goes national

Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs

AARP and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation have announced that the Respite Relief Program for Military and Veteran Caregivers is going nationwide.

The free program gives family caregivers access to no-cost, short-term assistance to help those caring for wounded, ill or injured veterans or service members at home.

“Across the country, more than 5.5 million veteran and military family caregivers have been caring for loved ones through the COVID-19 pandemic, taking on more responsibilities along with increased worry, stress, and anxiety,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins.

EDF’s Respite Relief Program offers care assistance provided by CareLinx – a qualified in-home respite care provider – and national outreach support by AARP, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Veteran and military caregivers can apply online to receive 24 hours of respite care to help with activities of daily living, such as cooking, grocery shopping, housekeeping, bathing and medication reminders.

“Now more than ever, military and veteran caregivers are feeling burned out and in need of a break,” said EDF Founder, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Research from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving finds that many caregivers believe services like respite care would be helpful. However, only 14% report having used respite care, though 38% feel it would be helpful.

AARP has also released a free financial workbook available to veteran and military caregivers. The workbook highlights caregiving costs to help individuals track what they spend on caring for their military veteran.

EDF’s Respite Relief Program for veteran and military caregivers started as a pilot program in California, Florida and Texas, with support from AARP, CareLinx, VA, WWP, and Bob Woodruff Foundation. Since August 2020, the program has connected more than 500 veteran and military caregivers with these basic in-home services.

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