I moved to Arizona in 1995, my father is retired USMC. I started in Yuma and then we were station for 8 years at David-Monthan Air Force base. For me, my biggest concern, thinking of my children and husband, whom has an ambulatory injury due to his service, is long term care and the effects that has on caregivers. Today, due to advancements in medical treatment and technology, more and more veterans are returning home with battle injuries they would not have traditionally survived. These include, PTSD, TBI and extensive ambulatory issues. This has not only put a strain on and impact on our V.A. and medical facilities, but more importantly the impact on the caregivers that receive no compensation from the state or the federal government. We refer to them as our hidden heroes.
Primarily under the Elizabeth Dole foundation, we have one family here, in Arizona, that has the fellowship, but we do not recognize those other caregivers. Rand McNally completed a study that detailed the millions of dollars that these people save the federal government by providing care for their spouses or children that were injured while serving their country. What we need in Arizona is acknowledgement of this fact, and provide support and services for these caregivers, many who are already suffering from burnout. It’s unfortunate, that in many cases, the people that can make the biggest difference for our veterans often turn their backs on them. It is equally shameful when these same people do not acknowledge the additional strain and scarifies that are made by friends and family members in providing care and support for their loved ones without aide or assistance from these same governmental agencies.