WASHINGTON—AARP and Blue Star Families will host a virtual town hall today at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the financial and emotional challenges facing the 5.5 million veteran and military caregivers across the country.
Research from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving finds that 1 in 4 veteran and military caregivers say they have trouble managing stress and taking care of themselves. Nearly 40% say providing care causes high emotional strain, according to Caregiving in the U.S. 2020.
Managing the financial challenges of caregiving is vital for families, but is all too often invisible or ignored. Family caregivers, on average, spend about $7,400 of their personal income on the out-of-pocket costs of caregiving each year. And 20% of veteran and military caregivers say providing care causes high financial strain.
“When you’re a military or veteran caregiver, you start younger and care longer. Many of these caregivers have had to take on more responsibility during the pandemic, along with increased isolation, stress, and anxiety due to a lack of their usual support systems,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “AARP is proud to collaborate with Blue Star Families to help share the free resources, tools and support available to these hidden heroes.”
The May 18 event will feature two leaders from the Department of Veterans Affairs: Chief Veterans Experience Officer John Boerstler and Senior Advisor for Families, Caregivers & Survivors Meg Kabat. Caregiving experts and leaders from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project and the Rosalynn Carter Institute will also join the town hall to discuss new research, resources, support and solutions available to help family caregivers.
The 2020 Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey reveals the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of active-duty service members or their spouses/domestic partners. Survey respondents report significant changes in the financial and caregiving aspects of their lives because of the pandemic, including:
- 45% report their caregiving situation is worse or much worse
- 10% could not provide care at all
- 32% report their financial situation is worse or much worse
- 60% have experienced stress due to their financial situation
“We know veteran and military caregivers have played a critical role in the military family lifestyle for decades, but we often don’t see the true impact of the sacrifices our caregivers and their families make in order to provide adequate care,” said Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Our research collaboration with AARP and the Rosalynn Carter Institute has helped us uncover the most pressing mental, physical, and financial issues facing our caregivers today. We are excited to bring together the best and brightest minds in this space to discuss and develop solutions for the future.”
AARP offers free resources and timely information for veteran and military caregivers, including:
- AARP Financial Workbook for Veteran and Military Family Caregivers
- NEW in 2021 to help veteran and military caregivers with the financial challenges magnified by the pandemic.
- 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.
The event is free to the press and members of the public. In order to attend the event, please register here.
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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 Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is the nation’s largest grass-roots military family support organization, with a mission to support military families to improve military readiness. Its distinctive approach builds stronger communities around military families through knowledge and programs that address the unique needs of those who serve. Blue Star Families’ nationally recognized surveys and analysis give military families an important voice that informs policymakers and its military family programs. It uses the power of its collective resources and cross-sector collaborations to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of members of military families to strengthen the troops, their families, and our nation as a whole. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org