Back to Top Skip to main content

Caregivers sometimes unaware of support available

Caregiver Stacey Rivera and Navy Wounded Warrior staff canoe around Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam during the Military Caregiver Workshop. (Photo by Gabrielle Arias, Peer Support Coordinator, DHA Recovery Care Program, San Diego) Caregiver Stacey Rivera and Navy Wounded Warrior staff canoe around Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam during the Military Caregiver Workshop. (Photo by Gabrielle Arias, Peer Support Coordinator, DHA Recovery Care Program, San Diego)

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Friday, Feb. 21 is National Caregivers Day. This day is observed on the third Friday of each February to recognize and honor caregivers who deliver a variety of personal, medical, or military care services.

The military departments and Defense Health Agency provide a variety of resources to support the caregivers of wounded, ill, or injured service members. Hawaii-based caregiver Stacey Rivera received support and learned new coping and self-care skills through DHA’s Recovery Coordination Program.

At the time, Rivera was a senior enlisted active duty Army service member. She became a caregiver after a motorcycle accident suffered by her husband on a highway on the island of Oahu. Severe injuries to his brain, spine, back, and legs resulted, requiring a lengthy stay in the hospital.

Over the next year and a half, Rivera stood by his side. She became, as she put it, “everything to him, his therapist, his life coach, his nurse, his financial manager” as well as “his best friend and wife.” At the same time, she balanced her Army career. She lacked time for self-care or to “even slow down” and think about anything other than his needs. The severity of his injuries made multiple spinal fusions necessary.

Personalized Experiences, Engagement, and Resources (PEER) Support Coordinator Gabriella Arias assisted Rivera with follow-up. They had met at the regional quarterly Military Caregiver Workshop, which focuses on self-care and caregiver resources. There, Rivera learned new coping and self-care skills from Operation Family Caregiver. The skills included canoeing, pottery painting, and practicing yoga and meditation.

In her role as a PEER support coordinator, Arias checks in with Rivera weekly. It’s one of many roles for a PEER support coordinator. They assist in holding military caregiver PEER forums and other outreach activities. They identify and report on gaps in support. They also assist in finding information on military caregiver support services, and act as the point of contact for the region. 

In the Recovery Coordination Program, Rivera learned she has a support network to meet her needs as a caregiver. The workshop gave her tools for coping along with much-needed support. She was also made aware of other resources, such as the Caregiver Resource Directory and the National Resource Directory (NRD). She now knows she can reach out at any time to battle isolation and seek the help she deserves.

Learn more at the Warrior Care and National Resource Directory websites.

You also may be interested in...

Department of Defense Military Caregiver Support

Fact Sheet
9/1/2015

The Department of Defense (DoD) provides resources and information exclusively for military caregivers who assist wounded, ill and injured Service members with activities of daily living.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Coverage of Assisted Reproductive Services

Fact Sheet
10/28/2014

Fact sheet that describes coverage for assisted reproductive services for injured serivce members.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

CAP Wounded Service Member Initiative

Fact Sheet
10/28/2014

CAP Supports Wounded Service Member Initiative provides needs assessments, assistive technology, and training to our nation’s wounded service members throughout all phases of recovery and the transition to employment.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
10/28/2014

Explains the TRICARE Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy benefit

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Think You're Too Young for Medicare?

Fact Sheet
10/28/2014

Explains Medicare requirements for injured service members on disability

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Information for Combat Veterans

Fact Sheet
10/28/2014

Fact sheet that discusses benefits for wounded, ill or injured service members.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care
Showing results 1 - 6 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.