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There are approximately 18 million veterans in the United States today. When these former service members return to civilian life, it can be challenging as they experience various struggles, including posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, problematic alcohol use, depression, and other problems facing veterans. Despite these challenges, you can intervene and give a helping hand. Here are ways you can help veterans, soldiers, and their families.
Send a Care Package
One of the ways you can put a smile on a service member or a veteran is by sending them a care package. There are companies that offer services you can use to send these packages to deployed troops. In the package, you can have several items, including books, snacks, personal letters of thanks, and hygiene items. Contributing these items can help service members and veterans cope with the psychological distress they experience.
Drive a Veteran to a Medical Appointment
If you know a veteran who requires frequent medical appointments because of injuries or trauma, you can offer to drive them to their appointment every time you’re available to help. This means the veteran will receive the treatment they need and never miss an appointment, helping them recover better. It’s a necessary service you can offer to vets who require assistance getting care.
Help a Veteran With an Animal Companion for Healing
Pets obviously provide companionship, but beyond that, having a pet can elevate mood and alleviate stress in key ways. Psychology Today explains dogs especially can sense emotions, and the animal might interrupt and prevent flashbacks. Most importantly, the pet gives the veteran unconditional love, which eases depression, stress, anxiety, and loneliness.
There are services like Pets for Vets you can explore to get a veteran a pet, which helps them deal with PTSD and other emotional issues that might have come from their experience serving the country. This is a win-win situation as an animal that needs shelter gets a second chance at life, and the veteran also gets a chance at happiness and good health.
Help a Veteran Buy a Home
Many veterans need places to stay but cannot navigate the complex housing market. What’s more, research published on NCBI reveals that veterans encounter predatory lending practices as scammers are located near their bases. To make matters worse, some of them lack experience with finances, so it can be challenging getting their situation organized to apply for a loan.
If you know a veteran interested in hitting the housing market, check if they’re eligible for a VA loan. These are loans that help veterans acquire homes with no down payment required. Plus there are other advantages, like no prepayment penalty, and the loan does not require the borrower to get mortgage insurance.
Reach Out to a Military Family
Extend friendship to a military family near you. Invite them to celebrate special occasions, for a meal, to engage with your small group, or go out with them for dinner. Something like running an errand or going on a walk together can build a friendship. If a Dad or Mom is deployed, there are going to be challenges for the spouse. Know them and find out the things you can help with. Gestures like cutting grass or putting up Christmas lights can mean a lot to someone living alone.
Help Homeless Veterans Rebuild Their Lives
You can also contribute to communities that provide temporary shelter for veterans and their families. Through such shelters, they can get clean clothes, medical care, warm meals, legal counseling, and emotional support.
And last but far from least, reach out to a veteran with spiritual support. Invite them to join a church function, to attend worship, or just for prayer. Knowing they are loved and supported can make a tremendous difference in their lives.
Service members and veterans often struggling in key areas of life. They chose to risk their lives to serve the country, and little could be more Christlike. If you see a way you can help them cope with their difficulties, honor their service by intervening.
Article by Rhonda Underhill from Getwellderly.com – a website dedicated to information about getting well and staying well as you age.