Monday, August 27, 2012

Do You Have An Emergency Plan?

Hi friends!

As Hurricane Isaac bears down today on Mississippi and Louisiana, it brought to mind the crucial necessity of having an Emergency Plan for your household.  Do you have one?  Have a clue where you put it?

If you do not, now is a very good time to write one, post it/store it in an obvious location, and include (at the bare minimum) the following:

- Emergency contact phone numbers
- Your VA care team names and phone numbers
- Possible shelter locations or where you might wait out the storm
- Fuel your car ahead of time
- Create a Notification Plan (neighbors, family, etc.)
- Make plans for your pets
- Charge your phone 
- If evacuation is needed, pack an Emergency Bag with medications, any documentation needed, clothes, food, water, your cell phone charger, and significant items needed to make your caregiving possible in unusual circumstances

This link is helpful for specific plans and outlines (, and we urge you to always have a household Emergency Plan (posting on the refrigerator is a good idea) so that you can better focus your efforts when or if the time arises that you need it.

Stay safe, and know we are thinking about you today and each day there are disasters beyond our control.  Planning gives peace of mind!

The VeteranCaregiver Team

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Traumatic Brain Injury Updates

Greetings all,

Despite the enormous effort to provide articles, webinars, PSA’s, and more on the Invisible Injuries of PTSD and TBI, it seems that there are still too many families (and medical staff) that feel many of the symptoms are “in your head”.  There are two very good TBI blog posts by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury that may resonate with you and your warrior or veteran. 

The first addresses Neuroendocrine Dysfunction in TBI ( and the second, older one discusses what the families may experience and how to best identify the problem and support your warrior (

Undiagnosed TBI can lead to devastating outcomes for relationships. Many families talk about the “lack of verbal filters”, the short-term memory loss, mood swings, paranoia, and the agitation that TBI may present.  And, if you or your veteran is unfortunate enough to not receive care for your TBI because the doctors say “you look fine; just adapt”, you may need to  persist and document the symptoms to obtain care.  Be alert to support those fighting to make sense of their lives when they suddenly can’t keep it together, but don’t understand what their list of symptoms may mean. 

The military is taking notice and working diligently to identify and treat TBI beginning in-country. A new blast exposure technical tool is in use for measuring blast exposure and potential injuries.  Protocols exist for first, second, and subsequent concussive events.  But, the families must be aware to bring specific behaviors to the attention of the warrior or veteran, as symptoms can manifest long after the last event. 

Consider the increased suicide risk without diagnosis and treatment of even mild TBI in this third article:  (  Traumatic Brain Injury is serious, but there are options.  Continually learn about new research and treatments alternatives -- and do not give up the quest for diagnosis and management.

With respect and care,

Linda Kreter and the VeteranCaregiver Team 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Caregiver Employment


After the flurry of Facebook comments, Tweets, emails, and phone calls that followed a recent article about (highly controversial) recommended jobs for military spouses, a group of us were discussing the potential for Caregiver employment.  This is still a very small blip on the service family employment radar, but it’s a critical one.

Like many MilSpouses, Caregivers are a diverse and well-educated group.  Firm statistics are hard to find, but many Caregivers have advanced degrees, were meaningfully employed or enrolled in higher studies prior to service member injury, and in the case of parental caregivers, had risen steadily up the professional ladder.  Many Caregivers possess licensed, portable professional credentials.  And, as one caregiver said:  “I haven’t changed from who I was, and my skills, experience, and now these challenges have made me a better potential employee”.  We agree.

As the many job fairs around the country focus on veteran and mil spouse employment, we also hope that companies will reach out with flexible, thought-provoking, challenging positions for Caregivers who seek employment.  With strong planning and communication, Caregivers are phenomenally resourceful, dedicated, and excellent change agents.  After navigating the labyrinthine medical system and in supporting their warrior while juggling many positions including relocation specialist, medical advocate, adaptive housing, superb communicator, and remarkable document specialist, we believe that Caregivers would be one of the highest priorities for employers, especially when that work can be performed and tasks completed flexibly, part-time (if needed),at home.

Caregivers give their all. Everyday. 

Please support employment opportunities for Caregivers!

Linda Kreter & the VeteranCaregiver Team