Caregiver conferences held on post
November 15, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Warrior Transition Command and Dorn Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center want to make sure that wounded warriors and their caregivers have all the knowledge they need before leaving the military. To do so, the organizations hosted a conference for caregivers Nov. 5 at the Solomon Center.
The conference, named "Joining Forces for Military and Veteran Caregivers," was sponsored by the Dorn VA Caregiver Support Group, the Army Wounded Warrior Program, the Soldier Family Assistance Center and the Fort Jackson Wounded Warrior Company, in honor of National Caregiver and Wounded Warrior Care Month.
Sponsors shared information and ideas with caregivers in hopes of helping them make informed decisions when it comes to providing care for warriors exiting service.
"We have a lot of people coming off active duty and transitioning to the VA, and we try to help them make that transition as easy as possible," said Christy Roberson, the caregiver coordinator for Dorn. "And at the VA, we want to get out there and offer the services we have available to our veterans."
The program at Dorn is fairly new. Including other organizations is a way to get the message of providing care out to a greater public.
"We want to get the word out 'we care' to our Soldiers and their family members," Roberson said. "And (we) want them to have all of the information about the services and benefits they are eligible for."
Other warrior care professionals at the conference echoed Roberson's sentiments about ensuring Soldiers and their caregivers have what they need.
"Working on things such as transitional services is very important," said Wanda Webb, Army Wounded Warrior program representative. "So we try to get them lined up with the VA and other organizations as they progress through the process.
"Linking Soldiers up with their Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom coordinators, making sure their awards are done correctly and other administrative services are just some of the things we do to help with the transition process," she said.
By working with veterans, Webb also had the chance to work with their spouses and caregivers.
"(The process) was wonderful," said Lashanda Howard, wife of retired Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Howard. "Ms. Webb was the bright side of it, and I always looked forward to working with her throughout the entire thing. The information she provided help us out a lot."
Information provided also helped families after going through the program.
"I loved the program because it included the spouse," said Donna McManus, wife of retired Maj. Barry McManus. "Without this, we probably wouldn't have known what to expect after getting out of the Army," McManus said.
During the one-day event, caregivers received briefings, information brochures as well as attended breakout sessions all geared toward informing and educating on topics that ranged from energy management tools to eating healthy while on a budget.