Impact for the Long-Term
At the Quality of Life Foundation, we provide support and services to help caregivers, veterans, and their family members improve their quality of life; this is the essence of our service model. While improving the quality of life for our clients in their community, we strive to let them know that their sacrifice in service to our country is valued and appreciated.
Each person’s definition of quality of life is dependent on his or her needs, desires, and aspirations. For one caregiver, improved quality of life is sleeping in a bed on a new mattress and not on the floor; for another, improved quality of life is a split adjustable king-sized bed where the caregiver can rest her body next to her spouse’s injured body. It is not the job of our Family Support Coordinators (FSC) to define how to improve quality of life for our caregivers or his family members. Our job is to help caregivers achieve that improved quality of life, however, each caregiver defines it. Our hope at Quality of Life Foundation is that our short-term involvement with a caregiver will lead to an improved quality of life over the long term journey of recovery for the veteran and the family.
One caregiver came to the Quality of Life Foundation in need of support in multiple areas. Some were basic needs, and others were wants that enabled the family to cope more effectively with their changed environment and circumstances. The requested items included a new bed, pest control, travel expenses for the veteran to visit his seriously ill mother, funds for a past due car payment, tree removal, and hurricane shutters. At the time, hurricane shutters seemed like an odd request; however, understanding that the family lived in Florida, and not knowing the full scope of their hurricane risk, the FSC explored possible options to meet this unusual request.
Meeting the Immediate Needs of Caregiver Families
Initially, the Family Support Coordinator was able to meet the caregiver’s more common requests quickly:
- Home furnishings: QoLF solicited funds to purchase a new bed.
- Pest Control: QoLF partnered with a local company for pest control.
- Travel Expenses: QoLF paid for travel for the veteran to visit his mother in ICU.
- Automobile Expenses: QoLF leveraged assistance to cover a past due car payment.
- Lawn Care: QoLF coordinated with a local company for tree removal.
The family then provided this immediate feedback:
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2014 10:54 AM
To: Sarah; Christina; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: THANK YOU!!!!!
“Happy Friday! THANK YOU endlessly for making all of the arrangements and paying to have New Era Exterminators come to our home this morning!!! They were punctual, professional, and very very knowledgeable. He confirmed the same cost as previously agreed. Truly a blessing and we would not have been able to have this taken care of like this without your support!
Happy New Year’s and again, thank you!!!!”
Meeting the Long-Term Needs of Caregiver Families
Fulfilling the request for the hurricane shutters took more time. Eventually, the FSC was able to have the hurricane shutters donated by one company. Another company installed the shutters for free. The family left Quality of Life Foundation with all of their requests met.
A year passed. Quality of Life Foundation knew that we had made a difference in the family’s life, but we were unable to fathom the full scope of the difference. Imagine our surprise when we received an email from the caregiver:
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2016 4:44 PM
Subject: THANK YOU – QoLF Summary
Hey there Ms. Sarah,
As we sit here preparing for Hurricane Matthew, I cannot help to feel so grateful and humbled for the shutters you and the QOL had put on our home! There are no words to express the safety and comfort that this gift has given us, esp when you have kids! Again, THANK YOU for helping our family in the past and God bless you!
xxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxx
In total, Quality of Life Foundation spent less than $2000.00 to support this caregiver, but we leveraged slightly over $15,000.00 of support for her family through our service model of coordinating resources to meet our caregiver’s needs. We know that the shutters provided safety and security as the family faced the fierce winds of Hurricane Matthew, months after our involvement. Our ability to know our impact at the time of engagement with the family was limited to immediate outcomes: better sleep, a pest free home, making the car payment, etc.
The caregiver’s email, received a year after providing services, illustrates the long-term impact that Quality of Life Foundation had on the family we served and how we dramatically improved their life by providing them security in the path of all the storms to come—not just for a moment, but for a lifetime.