The U.S Department of Veteran Affairs has shared a program by the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Family Caregivers. This program is called Operation Family Caregiver. This eight week program was designed years ago, but has been updated to include more recent support tactics. It was made for family caregivers of military veterans, but can help caregivers of all types. Their goal is to provide tips that can help caregivers help themselves long term. There are specific classes for different situations, such as PTSD and dementia. Post course surveys have shown that attendees feel more equipped to deal with decision making and self care strategies after completion. Especially right now, practicing self care is vital to a caregiving journey. The decision making process advice can help big choices seem less daunting. These might be related to finances or retirement plans, which seem overwhelming.
One of the main goals of the program is to make these decisions less scary and more actionable. The virtual class can also provide a safe environment to share your experiences with others. Classes such as this are incredibly relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health issues have worsened during this time. Taking courses can give caregivers self care techniques to combat stress and uncertainty. There are also recommendations on coping with feelings of burnout and stress. It also provides a network to connect with other military caregivers virtually. The motto of the program is, “They Serve, You Serve” to recognize the achievements of the care recipient, as well as the caregiver. It aims to foster understanding between caregiver and care recipient and supporting one another.
Classes are available in both spanish and english. If you are interested in signing up, please visit the Operation Family Caregiver Website.