GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
The VA Caregiver Support Program is the primary VA program providing support and services to caregivers of our veterans. Wednesday, August, 18 was the 2nd year of a summit and resource fair assisting caregivers and families of vets. Martha Markham is a caregiver for her husband she’s been married to for 44 years. Martha says, “My husband was in the Korean War from 1954 to 1959. He is proud to say they fired the last shots that ended it.”
Martha has been part of the VA’s Caregiver Support Program for four years now, and the annual caregiver summit is a chance to offer support to more people on the front lines taking care of our veterans. Christi Jackson is manager for the VA Caregiver Support Program and says, “This afternoon was a resource fair for the caregivers themselves to come in and get information from our community partners and the VA. Just learn what’s available for them to help them out.” “Just to have someone to call who you know will know who to call if they don’t have the answer, they know who to send you to,” said Markham.
Dozens of organizations offer their services to our vets including in home care, fly fishing dedicated to physical and emotional rehabilitation, or hotlines helping vets facing a crisis, and the caregiver support program is there too offering more than just support. “The best part about being in a support group and having these gals here as well is having people that understand,” said Markham.
At the 2nd annual Caregiver Summit and Resource Fair one thing has changed. You get to meet organizations supporting inclusive care for our vets and caregivers in person. But, one thing will never change, supporting those who served our country. “It’s very nice to have it here in person where you actually get to meet people and talk to people and connect with them in that way,” said Jackson. Martha says, “I run into many people in my life who don’t understand my husband, don’t understand what he’s going through, don’t always know how to react to him. And then I have people if I’m having a rough day, I have somebody to call, and that means a great deal to me.”
The Caregiver Support Program inspired Martha to run a caregiver support group at her church, and she says four group members are VA caregivers.
If you’re a caregiver of a vet and curious about the benefits available to you, click here.