The extraordinary individuals who care for our nation’s wounded, ill and injured veterans day in and day out without remuneration and facing almost insurmountable odds are such a cause.
SDI has the privilege and honor of supporting military caregivers through our work with The Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF). It’s a journey of relationship building, partnering and creating opportunities for the country to recognize and respond to the unseen sacrifices of those who care for our wounded warriors.
This week holds the promise of a turning point in how society provides for the needs of military caregivers. An unprecedented gathering of individuals representing organizations rich in diversity and experience will exchange ideas with caregivers, analyze programs and conceive strategies to help build a stronger culture of responsive and actionable support in this country.
Almost a year ago, RAND released a report the EDF commissioned, the first definitive study on the scale and scope of challenges military and veteran caregivers face daily. The report pierced the veil that hid a national community of heroes — 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers who tend to our wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans with little notice and less support.
EDF called for a national coalition of public, private, labor, nonprofit and faith communities. Leaders emerged from the nearly 100 organizations that answered the call and are joining their peers and caregivers to help create sustainable impact in the lives of military and veterans’ families, working together across lines of support and building new lines where none exist.
The challenge is considerable. Research identified multiple critical areas of need — deteriorating psychological and physical health, income loss and financial strain, lack of caregiver support networks, and limited accessibility to expanded caregiving education and training are among them.
As the stellar group of organizations represented here this week works to empower caregivers, drive innovation, promote collaboration and raise awareness, we’ll witness the power of partnering, relationship building and strategizing in pursuit of a common goal. It’s a blueprint for building a better future for our military caregivers.
By Jayne Davis, SDI, February 10, 2015