A Free, Family Caregiver Online Workshop to Ease Stress

Photo courtesy of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Photo courtesy of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Stress management and dealing with difficult emotions are some of the skills being taught in the free, online workshop for family members caring for veterans.

It’s called Building Better Caregivers™ and it’s a free six-week online workshop for family caregivers of Veterans.

Developed by Standford University, the online workshop is focused on caregivers handling veterans with dementia, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious illness or injuries.

Participants are asked to log on a couple times a week to review lessons, access tools and share with other caregivers. Trademarked as “Building Better Caregivers, the workshop was created by Stanford University to help reduce caregiver depression and stress.

You can learn more about the online workshop and how to register by talking to a local Caregiver Support Coordinator. To find your local support coordinator, enter your zip code at www.caregiver.va.gov.

You can locate your Caregiver Support Coordinator by visiting http://www.caregiver.va.gov and entering your ZIP code in the ZIP code finder. – See more at: http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2013/August/Are-You-a-Caregiver-for-a-Veteran.asp#sthash.ankmWxaO.dpuf

It’s called Building Better Caregivers™ and it’s a free six-week online workshop for family caregivers of Veterans.

If you are taking care of a Veteran, this workshop will help you learn a variety of skills like time and stress management, healthy eating, exercise and dealing with difficult emotions.

Participants log on two to three times each week to review lessons, exchange ideas with other caregivers and access tools to make caregiving easier. The program, developed at Stanford University, has been recognized for its ability to reduce caregiver stress, depression and increase their overall well-being.

This comprehensive online workshop addresses specific needs of caregivers who care for Veterans with dementia, memory problems, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any other serious injury or illness.

– See more at: http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2013/August/Are-You-a-Caregiver-for-a-Veteran.asp#sthash.ankmWxaO.dpuf

It’s called Building Better Caregivers™ and it’s a free six-week online workshop for family caregivers of Veterans.

If you are taking care of a Veteran, this workshop will help you learn a variety of skills like time and stress management, healthy eating, exercise and dealing with difficult emotions.

Participants log on two to three times each week to review lessons, exchange ideas with other caregivers and access tools to make caregiving easier. The program, developed at Stanford University, has been recognized for its ability to reduce caregiver stress, depression and increase their overall well-being.

This comprehensive online workshop addresses specific needs of caregivers who care for Veterans with dementia, memory problems, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any other serious injury or illness.

– See more at: http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2013/August/Are-You-a-Caregiver-for-a-Veteran.asp#sthash.ankmWxaO.dpuf

It’s called Building Better Caregivers™ and it’s a free six-week online workshop for family caregivers of Veterans.

If you are taking care of a Veteran, this workshop will help you learn a variety of skills like time and stress management, healthy eating, exercise and dealing with difficult emotions.

Participants log on two to three times each week to review lessons, exchange ideas with other caregivers and access tools to make caregiving easier. The program, developed at Stanford University, has been recognized for its ability to reduce caregiver stress, depression and increase their overall well-being.

This comprehensive online workshop addresses specific needs of caregivers who care for Veterans with dementia, memory problems, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any other serious injury or illness.

– See more at: http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2013/August/Are-You-a-Caregiver-for-a-Veteran.asp#sthash.ankmWxaO.dpuf

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Military Family Caregivers Video Contest to find Hero at Home

Photo courtesy of the PenFed Foundation

What better way to honor those family and friends who care for wounded service members than by noting their efforts in a one to two-minute video? Then, submit that video to a contest “hero at home” sponsored by the non-profit organization, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation .

The video submissions will be used to select a caregiver of a wounded service member or veteran to be honored at the foundation’s 8th Annual Night of Heroes Gala on May 24.

It includes caregivers of those recuperating at the hospital and after they’ve returned home.

To enter, contestants must upload on YouTube a one- to two-minute video about a “hero at home” who went above and beyond to care for an injured service member or veteran, then complete the entry form with the video’s URL. Contestants also must “like” the PenFed Foundation’s official fan page.

Photo courtesy of PenFed Foundation

Service members and veterans, their caregivers or a third-party can submit a nomination. All submitted videos will be featured on the PenFed Foundation’s YouTube contest page.

Officials will accept entries through April 12, and will announce the five finalists April 16. They’ll then invite the public to help choose the winner on the PenFed Foundation’s YouTube finalists’ page through April 22, and announce the winner April 23.

Free Caregivers Conference this week

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed a harsh spotlight on the term polytrauma – more than one injury – a problem all too common for returning veterans.

Lee and Bob Woodruff (photo courtesy of People Magazine).

This critical issue will be the focus of the Second Annual Pathways to Resilience Caregivers Conference this Thursday, March 10th, at the University of South Florida Tampa campus. The keynote speaker is Lee Woodruff, wife of ABC News anchor and reporter Bob Woodruff..

This special daylong event is free, open to the public and focuses on the needs of family members and caregivers who are involved in the lives of veterans with polytrauma. It will be held at USF’s Marshall Student Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Lee Woodruff’s speech takes place at 11 a.m.)

While pre-registration has closed, you can still attend. On site registration is available at the Ballroom entrance on the second floor of the Marshall Center.

Bob Woodruff with his daughter Cathryn (left) and son Mack two days after he woke from a coma. Photo courtesy of the Woodruff Family.

Bob Woodruff sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI, when the vehicle he was traveling in was blown up by a roadside bomb while he was on assignment in Iraq in 2006. Together the Woodruffs founded ReMIND.org, a non-profit organization that helps wounded service members.  Lee has become a national advocate and travels around the country raising awareness of traumatic brain injury and the sacrifices of service members and their families. She and her husband co-wrote the best-selling book, In An Instant, about their family’s journey to recovery.  She will sign copies of her new book, Perfectly Imperfect, at the event. (The book signing is around 12 noon during lunch).

There will be various breakout sessions and special presentations including, “Family Caregivers” by Dr. Steven Scott who is from the James A Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa where he serves as the Medical Director of the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Scott is also the Principal Investigator of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. In 2004, Dr. Scott was the recipient of the “Olin E. Teague Award”; it’s the highest honor for treating War-Related Injuries in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  He also received the “National Commander’s Outstanding VA Employee Award” from the Disabled American Veterans in 2007.

Dr. Linda Mona will give a talk about  “Dealing with Sexuality & Intimacy Issues.” Dr. Mona is a licensed clinical psychologist who has advocated for the sexual rights and sexual expression of people with disabilities for the past 15 years.

In addition, Father David Czartorynski will speak in a session titled “Resiliency through Faith & Spirituality.” Czartorynski is the acting chief of the Chaplain Service at the James A. Haley VA Hospital (JAHVA) in Tampa.  He specializes in pastoral care to spinal cord injury patients and polytrauma.

And Shealyn Holt, who is the Family Caregiver Coordinator at the Washington, D.C. office of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, will talk about  “Caregiver Resources.” Holt conducts research on traumatic brain injury and advocates for patient and family education and support.

The day concludes with a CPR training session provided by the USF chapter of the American Red Cross.

I am personally thrilled to be helping to organize this event and am proud of my husband, USAF SMSgt Rex Temple who is volunteering his time as the emcee for the event.  Rex is stationed at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base, but he recently spent a year on deployment in Afghanistan where he was embedded with the Afghan National Army. While there, he completed more than 180 combat missions and was awarded the Bronze Star.

We both believe that having one trauma is certainly bad enough, but polytrauma presents a particularly unique set of problems that require a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. But, polytrauma also creates a unique set of demands on those closest to the wounded veteran – compounded injuries, compounded need for care and for understanding. This conference will go a long way toward helping people start to get a handle on the associated issues.

Note: A version of this blog post was first written by me and Barbara Melendez for the USF.edu website.

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