Golly, Miss Molly
A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD
(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)
Get down and party with the dog!
Miss Molly’s put on her party face and wants to celebrate the month of November with Veterans and their family caregivers. Why? For three reasons: (1) November is National Caregivers Month; (2) November includes Thanksgiving; and, best of all, (3) Veterans’ Day falls in November. In doggy language, that makes it a triple-treat month! Line up those bacon strips and biscuits because she knows a lot of dogs that will want to get in on this month’s celebrations.
While the Molly blog will celebrate Veterans Day with our Veterans on Tuesday, November 11, we will honor our family caregivers all month-long with special posts focused on supporting them and ways to help their Veteran.
Resources for the Family Caregiver
I want to share with you what VA resources are available for family caregivers. While not substantial, it is a place to start. The VA just revamped its website so it should be easier to maneuver if you tried it in the past and had difficulty. I noticed that the links did not work recently if you search “caregiver resources,” so you can use this link to find the Caregiver Resources page: http://www.caregiver.va.gov/toolbox/.
The page provides six sections: (1) New to Caregiving; (2) Diagnosis Care Sheets; (3) Everyday Tips and Checklists; (4) Staying Organized; (5) RESCUE Websites (when caring for a Veteran, who suffered a stroke); and, (6) Rural health when caring in-home for a Veteran with dementia.
The diagnosis care sheets are helpful and easy to understand. Although limited, they cover the topics of Alzheimer’s Disease, PTSD, TBI, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); Guide to Intimacy, and a Guide to Parkinson’s. Diagnosis care sheets for additional disabilities are being developed, according to the website, and the VA asks that you contact the VA if you have a request for an additional topic.
The VA maintains a Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274. By using the link above, you will find a locator box to find the name and contact information of the caregiver coordinator in your area. Do not forget that if your Veteran is suicidal or just talking about it, you can contact the VA Crisis Hotline on behalf of your Veteran at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net.
If you are a Family Caregiver of a Post-911 Veteran, there are additional resources available to you and your Veteran, depending upon the circumstances of your Veteran’s condition. You can find the link for this information at the above website, as well.
For the month of November, the VA provides special family caregiver programs. I will be attending a full-day workshop in my city tomorrow. I hope to learn more about resources for caregivers and our Veterans so that Molly and I can share more information with you. I know the life of a family caregiver ranges from intense to impossible so you may not have time to attend an event in your area. If that is the case, I would like to provide you with information here. You can also contact your VA Caregiver Coordinator (probably the more reliable source!).
Last year, I saw a flyer in the elevator of our VA Medical Center (VAMC) that announced an all-day Family Caregiver Fair. Unfortunately, I could not attend since I would have had to leave my husband stuck in Podiatry all day while I attended. Your VAMC might schedule something like this type of event, as well. Your Caregiver Coordinator will know.
I am still new at being the mom of a service dog and to this blogging thing. I want to provide useful information to the family caregiver, to the Veteran, and to the family with a service dog. If you have topics you want to see covered in Miss Molly’s Blog, please let me know by filling out the following form or by commenting below.
HUG YOUR FAMILY CAREGIVER TODAY!
Post your Comments:
If you could share one piece of advice with a new family caregiver to a Veteran, what would it be? Please comment below.
About the blogger
Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.