Guest Writer: Rhonda Underhill
Military veterans made an honorable choice when they joined the service, and sometimes readjusting to civilian life after serving can be difficult. Whether you have a veteran close to you or want to honor veterans in your community, there are plenty of ways to help someone who needs it. From small but impactful gestures like assisting them in reconnecting with loved ones to bigger ones like helping them find a home, The Chaplain’s Report shares six valuable ways to support a veteran in your community.
1: Find Medical Care
The U.S. Department of Affairs provides medical care options for veterans, but they may need help applying for benefits. You can take some of the work out of it for them by researching benefits and technicalities like priority groups and also seeing if their family qualifies for care. If they aren’t satisfied with government-sponsored care, you can help them look into private care. Veterans may also be eligible for the Veterans Choice Program, which will allow them to see civilian doctors.
2: Encourage Pet Adoption
Dogs can reduce depression and other mental health symptoms that a veteran may be facing after serving. Oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” gets released when petting and otherwise bonding with pets and is beneficial to the brain. For these reasons, among others, owning a pet can help veterans cope with PTSD. You can help them adopt by offering transportation to adoption centers and paying for supplies and adoption fees.
3: Support Their Business Goals
Many veterans may dream of owning a business but are not sure where to start. If you have business experience, offering them your expertise could be beneficial. No matter where they are in the process, from coming up with an idea to writing a business plan, there are ways you can help. One excellent option is searching for a grant specifically for veterans who are starting a business.
4: Shop for a Home
Many veterans need help finding a permanent home after serving. If you have homeownership experience or know someone who does, you can offer valuable information and assistance to them. There are veterans’ loans available that offer mortgages for $0 down, and they may not need mortgage insurance, helping them get on their feet more quickly.
5: Build a Social Network
Those leaving the military often need aid building up their social network, and not just the kind on the internet. Encouraging a veteran to reach out to family and friends for support, as well as helping them meet new people and form a community, can be invaluable. Studies have shown that a solid social network can help protect veterans from rage issues and declining mental health.
6: Help With Food Insecurity
No matter what a former military member is experiencing, a home-cooked hot meal is always appreciated. From baking cookies to providing regular meal assistance, food is a way to help veterans’ health while making them feel cared for and appreciated. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could reach out to a local church or community center to start a food program.
There are many ways to help veterans get back on their feet and live their most fulfilling life. If you’re unsure where to begin, start small. After you begin helping and connecting with veterans in your area, you can find more ways to impact their lives for the better.
Rhonda is a classic example of a health scare leading to a complete lifestyle change. She hopes her site, Getwellderly.com, can encourage adults approaching their golden years to get serious about their physical health now rather than later.
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