It is no wonder that this generation of OIF/OEF Veteran's are frustrated and feel less than important. It seems that as I care for my husband and converse with other Veteran's and their caregivers that the stories are eerily familiar, and it is sickening to me. I am sitting here fuming when I should be sleeping. Why do we have to fight for EVERY little thing? What happened to the respect? It seems like the VA does not even understand the meaning of that word. They need to wake up and realize that the Veteran's of Iraq and Afghanistan have different needs and injuries than past wars. They also have young families that are falling apart because of the lack of support.
I am in no way trying to disrespect previous era's of Veterans because they have paved the way for our OIF/OEF Veterans, but these wars have been going on for quite a few years now and it is time to get on top of things, and support the whole family dynamic. I feel like because that is such an overwhelming concept, the VA gives up before they even try. Here's a concept instead of having panels of so called government big wigs and "experts" have a panel of OIF/OEF Vets and their Caregivers and ask what kind of program would be most beneficial, go straight to the source and not just the same few people.
So how can we impact the VA? I think the best way is to be vocal and keep our voices heard even when its incredibly exhausting. I think we all need to utilize our congress/senator reps more than we do. I think the reason we don't often times is because it is yet another thing to have to do. I know that I myself am guilty on this one, but hope to make changes even if they are small. Another way to be involved is to check out your local VFW, American Legion, etc. I know that most of them are comprised of what many of us would consider "old people" or older Veterans but I truly believe they have so much wisdom to offer. I try to thank them for their service when out in public and you wouldnt believe how many of them are shocked that I even said anything.
I believe that the VFW, American Legion, etc. truly want to reach out to these younger Veterans and families but may feel incredibly lost because they don't know how to keep up with such a social media generation. Also, they don't know we are here unless we make ourselves known to them. There are also MANY online resources specific to OIF/OEF Veterans and I will include a few links at the end of this post. I hope that with the little time to research you may have, that you will look into these resources and find something that is helpful to you. See the below links and until next time I post, hang in there, keep going, you are so crucial to your service member so don't forget that, and YOU MATTER SO MUCH! :)
Note: These links cover a variety of topics and there is a lot of information to sift through so bookmark it and take it at a pace you can handle.. I want to say that the second link actually has videos for caregivers specifically.