Doing it Alone – With a Little Help

Our military caregiver families are special. Oftentimes after multiple deployments and military moves, these families are accustomed to getting things done. They have mastered the art of negotiating difficult situations and there are few challenges that they are not ready to try to tackle on their own. Not to mention, the ability to take care of yourself, and secure your own quality of life, is fundamental to every persons’ feeling of completeness.

For the most part, our caregiver families are doing it alone. Many come to the Quality of Life Foundation for support after years of trying to figure out a new normal in the aftermath of a traumatic injury, illness, or wound, on their own without assistance, oftentimes without a diagnosis of PTSD or a TBI, and often without VA Benefits or in a stage of appeal. These families need some support, but many want to Do it Alone and some, like this caregiver family, actually can.

This caregiver family of 2 includes the veteran and his spouse caregiver.  The Veteran served in the Army Reserves and did two deployments.  As a result of those deployments, he has both invisible and physical injuries.  Although not wheelchair bound, the Veterans’ injuries have resulted in significant mobility challenges which have prevented him from navigating the stairs for nearly 3 years. Having to sleep downstairs may not sound too bad, but what if you had to do it without being able to have your caregiver by your side in case of emergency, what if it meant you have not slept in the same bed with your spouse for nearly 3 years, what if it meant, you had to sleep in a recliner.

This is the challenge that this caregiver family endured for some time.

Eager to remedy the situation, the caregiver applied to the CSC home modifications program. The estimate to complete their bedroom project, consisting of putting up one wall, creating a closet, putting in a door, and expanding the bathroom door to accommodate a wheelchair was over $14,000.00. Perhaps the high cost was because they lived in a very rural area, 45 minutes from the nearest Wal-Mart, perhaps it was the distance which made it difficult to find a contractor to do the work. In either case, this caregiver family felt the cost was excessive.  The caregiver was previously a business owner, and only stopped the business to care for the Veteran, the Veteran was handy, and together they believed they were capable of completing this project themselves – and at a much cheaper rate.

At the suggestion of the FSC, the couple went to Lowes’ and priced the materials. The difference in cost was astonishing. They were committed now, more than ever, to do it alone, and they were prepared to get it done. QoLF purchased a gift card from Lowes, the materials were secured and the project begun.

The results were amazing and speak for themselves.

The project not only allowed them to create a new bedroom space for themselves but it also gave them time to bond over a project that would dramatically impact both of them.  After they accomplished the build out, they had a bit left over and was able to make a small dog home under the stairs in the same bedroom for the veteran’s service dog to keep him near as well.

This caregiver family was capable, competent, and prepared to Do It Alone…With a Little Help.