It has been a tremendous privilege being a caregiver. It has taught me a lot about myself while developing a growing passion and care for all our military veterans.
Can you describe a milestone or a moment that made you feel empowered or inspired as a caregiver?
Anytime I go with my husband to his appointments and I am able to give insight to the doctors about his symptoms or struggles, I feel a great sense of empowerment. I feel the doctors get a different viewpoint of things from a spouse that they might not get from the patient and it helps them during their examination. I am a big advocate for my husband and I love being able to do that for him.
How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? What sacrifices have you had to make?
My life has changed a lot since becoming a caregiver. I have so much more support now and much more knowledge about physical and mental health. Being a wife and caregiver to a military veteran has taught me a lot. I have made a lot of sacrifices but they seem so minuscule compared to what our military veterans go through every day.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to other military and veteran caregivers?
Make sure to spend some time doing things for yourself. Give yourself an amount of time every week that you go somewhere or do something you enjoy.
Sarah Roses of Stanley, North Dakota is an elementary school teacher and military caregiver to her husband, Justin. She met Justin shortly after his honorable discharge from the Army after six years of service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The two were madly in love and married less than a year after they met. Around the same time, Justin was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. Since then, Sarah has been a full-time caregiver to Justin, helping him with daily acts of living such as scheduling and attending doctor appointments, managing medication, driving, and taking care of household chores. She is always there to help assist Justin in his daily struggles post-war.
One of the biggest challenges that Sarah has faced as a caregiver is helping her husband navigate his post-military life and employment while fulfilling her other obligations with her career, family, and community. Sarah and Justin have two kids together, Jacob (12) and Jason (four), and recently welcomed a new baby. They are also helping start a new church in their small community.
As a Dole Fellow, Sarah is excited to represent military and veteran caregivers in the state of North Dakota and nationwide. She hopes to develop a support system for caregivers like her who live in rural communities, as well as promote caregiver self-identification.