5.5 million people are caring for the injured and returned military veterans across the U.S. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen a dramatic rise in the need for caregivers.
Since 2001, 2.5 million troops were deployed. Many died and tens of thousands returned and are now living with a disability--relying on friends and family for day-to-day assistance.
Many caregivers spend 40 hours a week taking care of loved ones. Many are the sole source of income for families, and are tasked with attempting to deal with the Byzantine nature of government benefits. Military caregivers are more susceptible to stress and health issues as a result, according to a new report from the RAND corporation.
A new report showed that these people are doing it without the support they need. In the areas of mental health, financial assistance, respite care and health care are all lacking and only function as an extension of services to the injured.
The future for military caregivers is also in doubt as public interest in the nonprofit community that supports them wanes with the drawdown of the nation's wars. In addition, 25 percent of veterans are relying on parents to support them and give care. As parents age they will be less able to care for their veteran children, both financially and physically.
What needs to happen to support the caregivers of our nations wounded warriors? What are your experiences giving care in Military City, USA?
- Rajeev Ramchand, author of the RAND study, as well as senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND corporation
*This is the second segment in the April 10 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.