(NAPSI)—The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have launched an emergency respite care fund for the family caregivers of wounded, ill, and injured veterans. The program, Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers, will provide non-medical, no-cost, professional home care to veteran caregivers who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. CareLinx, a nationwide professional home care network, helped launch the fund with a donation of $1 million worth of services. Wounded Warrior Project then contributed an additional $1 million to expand the program. The Foundation expects to provide 75,000 hours of care to more than 3,000 veteran caregivers.
“The lack of affordable, convenient, professional respite care has always taken a significant toll on the emotional and physical well-being of veteran caregivers,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “Now, due to the increased health risks and limitations created by the pandemic, we are seeing a spike in the need for short-term relief.”
Even as states re-open, some of the most critically wounded or ill veterans and their caregivers will have a long journey back to the pre-pandemic world. These veterans often have vulnerable immune systems that require their caregivers to take every precaution against exposure. By asking family and friends to keep their distance, they are losing a vital source of daily support.
“We are grateful to CareLinx and Wounded Warrior Project for helping us respond to this urgent need,” Schwab continued. “We hope other organizations also step up, so we can ensure every veteran caregiver suffering during COVID-19 receives the help they need.”
The program is rolling out in select regions and will expand nationwide over time. Eligible caregivers can request services that include companionship, grocery shopping, cooking, mobility assistance, transportation, bathing, and other activities of daily living. AARP and Bob Woodruff Foundation have also joined as key collaborators for this effort to help spread the word to military and veteran caregivers.
To learn more and apply, visit www.hiddenheroes.org/respite.