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AARP offers free resources for military caregivers grappling with stress, suicidal thoughts

By Aaron Kassraie, Associate Writer/Editor, AARP

New research finds 1 in 4 military caregivers have had suicidal thoughts; Many reported symptoms of pain, depression, and stress

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A new study by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that 1 in 4 military caregivers have had suicidal thoughts. More than two decades of war and the high percentage of injuries and illnesses have created a younger population of caregivers (compared to civilian caregivers) focused on Veterans with long-term medical conditions.

World War Two Veteran and son Gulf War Veteran at home looking toward window

CAREGIVERS AT RISK
The study was led by Roxana Delgado, a UT health center assistant professor. She has a combat-wounded husband who suffers from a moderate brain injury after being hit by an improvised explosive device.

Almost 24 percent of the nearly 500 military caregivers surveyed reported thinking about suicide since becoming a caregiver. Caregivers of people with mental health issues like traumatic brain injury, anxiety disorders, Alzheimer’s and PTSD are at a higher risk for suicidal tendencies than those caring for people with physical injuries like burns or amputations.

Not only are war injuries abrupt, but they are often complex. This means military caregivers tend to an average of five or more different conditions that can require highly specialized skills. Researchers were surprised at the high number of military caregivers who have thought about suicide because those who care for military members tend to be better organized and have more resources than civilians.

Read more about what is being done within the Veteran and military community to address suicidal thinking among military caregivers in the full story here.

AARP RESOURCES FOR CAREGIVERS
Join the AARP Family Caregivers discussion group on Facebook: Connect with nearly 4,000 other caregivers in this private group to exchange practical tips, offer support and share your family caregiving experiences. Go to facebook.com/groups/aarpfamilycaregivers to join the group.

Follow these five tips for military caregivers amid the pandemicAARP teamed up with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to offer strategies to help caregivers of military personnel and Veterans tackle some of the most critical issues they face every day. Here are five practical steps that caregivers can take amid the coronavirus outbreak to better protect themselves and their loved ones.

MORE RESOURCES FOR VETERANS, MILITARY MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES

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