Working in VA’s Central Office doesn’t allow for many opportunities to get out in the field and talk with Veterans and their families, so when I got the chance to be a part of the video shoots below last month, I jumped at it.

What an incredible four days. Meeting and listening to the Davis, Benns, Carden and Pearce families gave me insight into the struggles and sacrifices that Caregivers and their families face every day. We at VA know from studies and research that family Caregivers are an integral part of a Veteran’s treatment, recovery and positive quality of life, but being able to put faces and stories to the difficulties and extreme love of a family Caregiver is invaluable.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who runs the Institute for Caregiving, has a saying:

There are only four kinds of people in the world–those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who need caregivers.

Whether you are a Caregiver, are preparing for that role, or are just interested in learning more about the role, my hope is that this video, “VA Caregivers” inspires and encourages you.

View the Section 508-compliant version of this video

For more information on care giving and available resources, please visit VA’s Caregiver homepage.

Jessica Slider works in the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs

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Published on Feb. 2, 2011

Estimated reading time is 1.2 min.

Views to date: 168


  1. Dayna Whitehead March 5, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I was disabled to 100%, however, it is only “temporary” even though it was well known that my condition would not improve. In fact, it was known that it would, in fact, be permanent and would get worse over time. It won’t be revisited until 2014. I cannot walk without a great deal of effort. I cannot go upstairs to the bathroom without assistance nor bathe without assistance. I am hoping, through our travails, that future spouses will be, at the very least, given healthcare. My husband and I now have no recourse but for him to go back into the workforce. He is a truck driver and we lose between $2500 – $3000 a month in income. I am well aware that we will have to pay, out of pocket, for general housecleaning, an aide to come in and bathe me and feed me since I am unable to do those myself anymore. That will cost between $1800 – $2000 which will result from a total net income from him working of between $500 – $1200. Not very fair, in my opinion. My husband deserves so much more for everything he’s given me, a veteran of a foreign war.

  2. VetWife04 February 18, 2011 at 7:26 am

    The caregiver benefits are good but you do have to ask. Sometimes you have to know which are the right questions to ask. It’s nonsense that caregivers get nothing – there is a lot available. Those people on the video said it all – you just do it. God bless them.

  3. Wayne Irelan February 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Why is it that the VA said that they have the right to take the same rights that we have fought to get everyone else. I was wounded on 4-24-04, My wife is my Caregiver an she does all the bills. Which they pay her so much for doing the bills. I have TBI, a new jaw an a bad arm that will never work as most of you.But the VA sees fit to not only take my second am rights but hers as well.Our Representatives an Congressman are trying to get bills past to wright the wroung that has been done to countless number of our Vets. We are not some kind of crackpots or madmen running around trying to kill everyone that comes close to us. Any help would be nice so that Vets can take or grandkids hunting an fishing just like befor we gave our time to help those in need. Thankyou

  4. brenda hayes February 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    This is not the support I as a “caregiver” nor my Veteran deserve.

    Neither myself nor my spouse has heard from the WPB VAMC eye clinic; going on two weeks?

    This was a referral from his Primary care. Won’t make the 30 day time limit!!

    Interestingly enough, I also have never heard from the PA?

    Again, that’s how it is in the “field”…this is what Vets and Family members deal with!!

    Shameful; who the Under Secretary not dealing with his underlings?

    If there was some accountability and consequences; but….

    There should be NO BONUSES for any VA Employees especially at the Executive level. Is the VA taking its cues from Wall Street? That mess has not been taken to task as well!!

    Again, If you don’t have two way communication for VA Management as to what is not working; then how do you expect things to change?

    I’d like an answer and so would a lot of Veterans and family members.

    Again, there needs to be an Ombudsman that reports directly to General Shinsecki. He needs to know what is not happening!!

    Vetwife Advocate

  5. Linda Kreter February 7, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Caregivers are the heartbeat of the family and the backbone of the VA care system for our wounded, ill or injured veterans. Thank you for the increased recognition of their contribution. These are some of the most REMARKABLE people you’ll ever know. If you’re a caregiver and need peer support and the latest updates, register today at Caregivers MATTER!

  6. Jason Kahl February 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Since the VA has disabled me under malpractice 1151, the VA IGNORES my caregiver even though my wife goes without her own health benefits..

    Not only does my wife take care of me she takes care of our three kids also. She insures I eat,my cloths are clean,over see’s medications,takes me to all my appointments.

    Even after the VA Admitted fault, my primary care giver gets NOTHING FROM VA!

  7. pete s. February 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    i watched this and it gives me hope to keep doing what i am doing , my wife and i took care of mother-in-law for two and a half years till she passed and then just a year and a half later my wife came down with lung and brain cancer and now it starts all over again .It is a tough job and i have to raise my 11yr old. It is not what i wanted in life but i am glad to do it and would not want it any other way. As a caregiver we live so others can live to.

  8. William E. February 3, 2011 at 12:46 am

    It is so amazing how family caretakers can hang in there.

  9. Ken Coppage February 3, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Thank you for high lighting the important work performed by caregivers and the sacrifices many of them endure.

  10. Chris Harding February 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Amazing! I wish I had the same patience!

    I assisted with the final months of my mothers life while she was succumbing to cancer. People who do these jobs and do them well are quite amazing. The “hard work” was not shown! In many cases, there is much “midnight oil” that must be expended to ensure a “friend” is comfortable.


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