Doing It Alone, With a Little Help


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Our military caregivers and their families are independent.  After enduring multiple deployments, military families are accustomed to getting things done on their own. They have mastered the art of navigating difficult situations, and there are few challenges that they are not able to overcome.

For many, our caregivers are facing their challenges alone. Caregivers come to Quality of Life Foundation for support after years of trying to map out a new normal in the aftermath of a loved one’s traumatic wound, injury, or illness. Our families are navigating the maze of government programs. These families need some guidance, but many want to be as self-sufficient as possible in completing the next steps on their journeys.

One caregiver came to us seeking help in creating a first-floor master bedroom in her home.  Her husband, the veteran, served two deployments in combat zones while in the Army Reserves.  As a result of those deployments, he has both physical and invisible injuries.

Although not wheelchair bound, the veteran’s injuries have resulted in mobility challenges which have prevented him from navigating the stairs to the second-floor master bedroom for many years.  This meant that the veteran was sleeping in his recliner downstairs away from his caregiving spouse.  The caregiver worried she would miss his request for assistance in the middle of the night.

She and her spouse wanted to be able to sleep together again in the same bed on the same floor of the house.  The caregiver and veteran wanted to claim a first-floor master bedroom from the available living room space.  Also, realizing that the veteran’s condition would worsen over time, they wanted to expand the first-floor bathroom doorway to accommodate a wheelchair.

The family came to Quality of Life Foundation seeking solutions for making their homework better for them. The caregiver was unaware of the VA’s housing modification grants.  The assigned Family Support Coordinator (FSC) was eager to remedy the family’s situation, and she passed along information about the VA’s home modification programs.  While the home modification program would be a long-term solution to the bathroom modifications, and the caregiver immediately applied for a home modifications grant, the master bedroom and sleeping arrangements were the most immediate quality of life concerns for the caregiver and her spouse.  They wanted to be able to share a bed together on the first floor of their home.

The contractor’s estimate to complete their bedroom project, consisting of putting up one wall, creating a closet, putting in a door, and expanding the bathroom doorway to accommodate a wheelchair, was over $14,000.00.  This caregiver and veteran felt the cost was excessive.  The couple was handy and believed they were capable of completing this project themselves at a much lower cost.

At the suggestion of the FSC, the couple went to Lowe’s and priced the materials. The difference in cost was astonishing. The family was committed to doing the work themselves. QoLF purchased a gift card from Lowe’s to cover the cost of the materials.  The veteran and caregiver got to work.

The results were amazing. The home remodeling project allowed the couple to create a new master bedroom space, and it gave them time to bond.  After the family accomplished the build, they had a bit left over and were able to make a small dog home under the stairs in the same bedroom for the veteran’s service dog.

This Quality of Life Foundation family was capable, competent, and prepared to “DIY”…with a little help.


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