Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hidden Heroes
Caregiver Journey Map Campaign for Inclusive Care

Brian Vines

Our problem, not her problem

What challenges do you face as a caregiver?

Communication. In the beginning, it took me a while to convince my wife that I wouldn’t leave. Her post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) leads to fear of abandonment. Even now, we face communication issues, just like any couple does over the course of a relationship.

How have your wife’s injuries changed your relationship?

My wife suffers from memory loss and oftentimes forgets words. Before it was cute to complete each other’s sentences, but now it can be frustrating when she forgets what she wants to say and I finish for her.

What advice do you wish you had when you became a military caregiver?

Educate yourself as much as possible! I wish I would have asked more questions in the beginning.

My Story

Brian and his wife, Natalie, both served in the military. They had looked forward to a retirement filled with travel and activity after their time in the Army, but in 2013, Natalie was medically retired with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a seizure disorder, severe migraines, a cognitive disorder, and severe PTSD.

As a Dole Fellow, Brian uses his position to advocate for male caregivers (who are the minority gender in caregiving) and to seek out commonalities across caregiving.