WASHINGTON—AARP and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF) today announced the new Respite Relief Program for Military and Veteran Caregivers is going nationwide in 2021. This free program grants 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. “AARP is heartened to collaborate with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to help communicate the support available to these hidden heroes. Respite relief can help lighten that emotional burden for veteran and military caregivers.”
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 (VA), and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Veteran and military caregivers can apply online at https://hiddenheroes.org/respite 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 Senator Elizabeth Dole. “We’re proud to offer the Respite Relief program and provide caregivers the much-deserved opportunity to recharge and practice self-care.”
Research from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving finds that many caregivers believe services like respite care would be helpful, though use of these programs remains low. Just 14% report having used respite care, though 38% feel it would be helpful (up from 33% in 2015), according to Caregiving in the U.S. 2020.
New AARP Financial Workbook for Veteran and Military Family Caregivers
AARP also released a free financial workbook today available for veteran and military caregivers. The workbook highlights caregiving costs to help individuals track what they spend on caring for their military veteran. Understanding out-of-pocket costs allows caregivers to plan and save, which can take significant financial pressure off the household budget.
Other AARP free resources and timely information for veteran and military caregivers include:
- Veterans and Military Family Caregiving Guide
- Veterans and Military Family Caregiving Handbooks (English & Spanish)
- Supporting Veteran and Military Family Caregivers in a Pandemic Fact Sheet (English & Spanish)
- “Military Caregivers Face New Challenges During Pandemic”: Column by Amy Goyer
- For more information on these and other resources for veterans, visit www.aarp.org/Veterans.
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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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.
About the Elizabeth Dole Foundation
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation's 5.5 million military caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America's wounded, ill, or injured veterans at home. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers' service and promote their well-being. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at hiddenheroes.org.