The Elizabeth Dole Foundation brought veteran caregivers from across the nation to Washington, D.C., for five days packed with one-on-one meetings with national leaders, educational and training seminars, new resource roll-outs, milestone updates from our Coalition, and unforgettable moments that put caregivers in the national spotlight.
Here are just a few of the week’s big headlines!
Veteran caregivers representing 24 states met with Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to share their stories and discuss critical caregiver legislation, including the Military and Veteran Caregiver Student Loan Relief Act, Major Richard Star Act, Helping Heroes Act, Love Lives on Act, Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act, Credit for Caring Act, and more.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and the Foundation hosted military caregivers from across the nation at the White House to recognize their extraordinary service and hear directly from them about the challenges of caring for invisible wounds.The evening included a special screening of Hidden Heroes Ambassador Richard Lui’s UNCONDITIONAL, a new film that chronicles three families in their journey of caregiving as they grapple with difficult realities and hidden mental health wounds.
The Foundation hosted the 8th Annual National Caregiver Convening to bring partners, support organizations, leaders from the VA and DoD, and caregivers together to identify the top concerns facing the military caregiver community and work together to drive solutions.More than 4,000 people joined us in person or virtually, setting a record for the Convening’s attendance.
We devoted this year’s event to addressing three of the most pressing issues facing veteran caregivers and their families:
- Mental wellness
- Preparing for the transition from caregiver to survivor
- The impact of caregiving on children and youth in the home
A series of panel discussions, keynotes, and working sessions explored each topic in-depth and unveiled new tools now available to caregiver families:
Mental Wellness Framework
A tool created by caregivers, for caregivers to help them identify the unique mental wellness challenges they may be experiencing and vetted strategies for how to overcome them. View the Framework here.
The Experiences and Challenges of America’s Military and Veteran Caregiver Survivors
A just-released report from the Foundation, TAPS, and Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network brings greater understanding of the Caregiver to Survivor (C2S) transition. The report highlights key information about the experience of a care recipient passing away, including how to navigate the change in benefits and resources. Check out the Report here.
The Impact of Caregiving on Military-Connected Children
The first-ever Hidden Helpers Summit, hosted as part of the Convening, focused on the children and youth in caregiving homes. The event featured a panel of hidden helpers and eye-opening sessions on the most urgent issues concerning military caregiver kids.The summit brought together individuals representing the more than 80+ organizations that joined our Coalition, which we’re proud to lead in partnership with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative.
The 8th Annual National Convening, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was made possible by TriWest Healthcare Alliance and partners including American Airlines, Booz Allen Hamilton, Hilton, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Philips, and Wounded Warrior Project®.
In case you missed it, watch the Convening recording here. Scroll to the bottom of the page for easy-to-navigate links to the resources mentioned during the event.
We have so many people to thank for this incredible week, though none more than our Dole Caregiver Fellows. They went to extraordinary lengths to spend the week in Washington with us. Many of the most powerful moments happened behind the scenes with them, learning from their firsthand experiences, watching them collaborate on ideas for new programs and system reforms, and seeing the energy they took away from their meetings with our national leaders. They remain the heart and soul of our mission.
AARP Military Caregiving Guide ForVeterans, Service Members, and their FamiliesMental Wellness FrameworkMental Wellness Framework Explainer VideoCaregiver to Survivor ReportEDF Policy Priorities