5 Tips for Caregiving for Veterans

By March 18, 2016Archives
Closeup portrait of a senior man with hat

Senior veterans have survived some of the most intense conflicts in American history; the Korean War, World War II, Vietnam, and various operations in between. It doesn’t matter how large or famous the conflict, a veteran who has seen combat will emerge with physical and mental battle scars. A professional caregiver, and even family members cannot take these away. What they can do however, is help a senior veteran receive the care and understanding they need and deserve. LivHOME specialists provide companion care, disability care, at home and long-distance home care. Here are some suggestions when caring for an aging veteran.

Practice Patience.
Veterans may become angry, sometimes to a level that seems inappropriate for the given situation. Combat veterans are apt to feel much more intense levels of anger. Don’t overreact to their aggression, it will only inflame the situation. Try not to challenge a senior at all, but let them move through their emotions naturally. Practice patience and work to be a compassionate listener.

Give Attention.
Senior veterans take great pride in their independence, after all, they are trained as military men and women who the country relies on to be strong, reliable, and in control. Respect this training. Pay attention to the things that seem most important for an older veteran to do independently and let them do it on their own, even if it takes a little longer.

Communicate.
A good conversation can do a world of good for an older veteran. The older they become the more friends they have lost and company and good conversation is healthy and uplifting. They may have lost more friends and loved ones to time than to war; they have no one to tell their story to, or no one who cares. Even if it isn’t about their military experience, sitting down and sharing a coffee or a meal with some conversation can show an older veteran that they remain important.

Give Encouragement.
Talk with aging veterans and inspire them to take up a new hobby, to exercise more or explore things outdoors. A veteran may enjoy writing memoirs, to commit their story to paper to make sure it’s remembered. The burden that aging veterans bear could be the fear of being forgotten, or could sheer loneliness. Getting together with others to pursue shared interests is a very successful fix.

Practice Good Communication.
Most obviously, when speaking with an older veteran, always look them in the eye. This builds trust, and shows them that you are truly listening. Sometimes, veterans may have difficulty in expressing themselves. Asking leading questions can help, just for good conversation or to understand their physical and emotional needs.

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