Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
Multiple Sclerosis Caregivers/Partners
As a family caregiver you play an important role in caring for the Veteran at home and in the community. Often people do not identify themselves as a “caregiver.” Caregivers are daughters, wives, husbands, sons, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, partners, and friends. Caregivers manage a wide range of responsibilities.
Here’s how you know if you are in a caregiver role. Do you assist a Veteran who needs help to:
- Make medical appointments or drive to the doctor?
- Drive to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions?
- Get dressed, take a shower, or take medication?
- Get in and out of bed?
- Complete physical therapy or give injections?
- Feed self, with feeding tubes or complete similar procedures at home?
- Talk with doctors, nurses, social workers, and others to understand about their medical care or benefits?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are a caregiver and may be eligible for caregiver services at VA. It's important to take care of yourself as you care for your loved one with MS. If you aren’t healthy, it's harder to provide good care.
- Caring for the Caregiver
- Changes in Relationships When Caregiving
- Relationships: Improving the Lines of Communication
VA Caregiver Support
The VA’s Caregiver Support program provides resources, education, and support to caregivers of Veterans. The Veteran does not need to have a service-connected condition, for which the caregiver is needed, and may have served during any era. No formal application is required. Please work with your local Caregiver Support Coordinator or contact VA's Caregiver Support Line, 1-855-260-3274 (toll free 8 am to 8 pm ET), to learn more about their Program of General Caregiver Support Services which are outlined below.
Building Better Caregivers
Building Better Caregivers (BBC) is an on-line 6-week workshop. BBC helps caregivers in two key ways: training in how to provide better care, and helping caregivers learn how to manage their own emotions, stress, and physical health. After the 6-week workshop, you can stay connected to other caregivers through the alumni community. This service is free and secure. Connect with other caregivers today! Learn more!
VA Caregiver Support Line
Get support from a caring, licensed professional by calling 1-855-260-3274, toll free 8 am – 8 pm ET. Learn about support available from VA and in the community, get connected to your VA Caregiver Support Coordinator, or sign up for monthly telephone-based group sessions. Learn More!
Peer Support Mentoring Program
The Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for caregivers to receive guidance and to share their experiences, wisdom, skills, and passion with other caregivers. The program was developed to strengthen relationships between caregivers, provide an opportunity for networking, and empower caregivers to help one another. Caregivers are matched together and talk regularly to provide support using email, telephone, face to face meetings, and letter writing. Learn More!
Resources for Enhancing All Caregivers Health (REACH) VA
Connect with a coach who will provide you with a workbook and help you with a variety of issues caregivers face. They will coach you in stress management, problem solving, self-care, and healthy behaviors, as well as, Veteran safety, behaviors, problems, or concerns linked to a diagnosis. Your assigned coach will call you for a total of four sessions, over a two to three-month period. Learn more!