A caregiver serves a very unique role, and life will not look like it does for everyone else.
What does being a military caregiver mean to you?
Military caregivers are resilient people, and I’m proud to serve as one. The role requires endurance, both mentally and physically. Although it’s exhausting at times, the positive impact from a caregiver’s effort is exponential, and that is a really powerful feeling.
What is the most difficult thing about your daily routine?
The most difficult thing about my daily routine is the unpredictability. Some days my husband is feeling really well and he’s able to do a lot. Other days, he’s very ill and my schedule must change to accommodate that.
What are you most excited to do as a Dole Caregiver Fellow?
I am looking forward to my time as a Dole Caregiver Fellow to bring attention to personal development of the caregiver. I believe encouraging a caregiver to achieve goals and find fulfillment will help prevent caregiver burnout. I hope to inspire caregivers to start dreaming again.
Katie Butterfield of Rockingham County, New Hampshire is a military caregiver for her husband Alex, an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who sustained injuries from multiple improvised explosive device (IED) blasts while deployed 2004-2005. Alex suffers from knee, shoulder, and neck injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fatigue syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Because of Alex’s wide array of injuries, Katie’s caregiving role is always unpredictable and can be all consuming some days.
Katie’s caregiving experience opened her eyes to how little support is available for spouses of disabled veterans looking for personal development opportunities. Caring for her husband and family will always be of utmost importance to her, but Katie also has dreams and goals that she’d like to accomplish for herself. This inspired her to create SheIsTheGlue.com, which educates and inspires female military and veteran caregivers and helps them achieve fulfillment by balancing personal development with their caregiver tasks. Her goal is to help caregivers avoid burnout by finding methods to fit self-care and personal development into their lives.
As a Dole Caregiver Fellow, Katie’s goal is to advance programs and efforts to support caregivers and their veterans and help them heal both mentally and physically. While she knows the resources are out there, Katie hopes to make them more accessible.