When the caregiver needs a break

Jonathan Kaupanger
October 10, 2018 - 1:34 pm

Photo by Anna Dudko | Dreamstime.com


VA wants to send you on a mini vacation, right now.  Maybe you’re the type who relaxes best at a mountain retreat.  Or are you more of the day at the beach type of person?  Either way, VA will take you there.  All you need to do is close your eyes, take a deep breath and focus on yourself for a change.

Focusing on self-care isn’t easy.  If you’re a caregiver, your attention is often on someone else, so taking a few minutes out of your day to relax and think about yourself is vital.  There’s a lot available to help veteran caregivers through VA’s Caregiver Support program. 

For those times in life when you need to take a moment and restore a little balance to your life, VA has four relaxation exercises geared specifically to help caregivers relax.

These exercises are based on different types of meditation.  The short exercises teach you how to be present in the moment, no matter what’s going on in your world. Learning how to meditate is beneficial because you don’t need special equipment and it can be done almost anytime and anywhere.   These short exercises are given by a VA social worker and can be accessed anytime you need a moment for yourself.

The mini-breaks aren’t the only tools VA has ready to help caregivers.  VA’s Caregiver Support Line’s (855-260-3274) is an easy way for you to access services for both you and the veteran in your life.   You may also participate in the Caregiver Support Line’s monthly presentations. 

These monthly calls offer education, tips and support on a wide range of topics.  To participate in these calls, you need to be a caregiver for a veteran who’s receiving VA care.  Veterans who are signed up for VA health care and are caring for a loved one may participate also.  You start the registration process with your local Caregiver Support Coordinator.

Every VA medical center has a Caregiver Support Coordinator.  These licensed professionals match you with services that you and the veteran in your life are eligible to receive.  They also can provide valuable information to help caregivers stay strong and organized.

Rural caregivers might be interested in VA’s free online workshop Building Better Caregivers.  This is for caregivers who don’t have access to one on one contact with a VA social worker or nurse.  A trained facilitator guides you through the anonymous six-week course.  You’ll learn how to manage difficult behaviors and feelings while caring for a veteran. 

Caregivers may also benefit from VA’s Peer Support for Caregivers.  You can apply to be either a mentor or a mentee.  Mentors receive training before being paired with another caregiver.  A six-month commitment is required to sign up.  If you’re not sure you have the time, you may try a one-time connection through VA’s Compassionate Connections Program. 

To learn more about VA’s Caregiver Support programs, contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator.

            Contact us about this article or share your story at gethelp@connectingvets.com