WASHINGTON, D.C. – AARP and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation recently unveiled their new nationwide Respite Relief Program for Military and Veteran Caregivers.

This free program grants family caregivers access to no-cost, short-term assistance to help those caring for wounded, ill or injured veterans or service members at home. The program offers care assistance provided by CareLinx – a qualified in-home respite care provider – and national outreach support by AARP, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wounded Warrior Project.

Veteran and military caregivers can apply online at https://hiddenheroes.org/respite to receive 24 hours of respite care to help with activities of daily living, such as cooking, grocery shopping, housekeeping, bathing and medication reminders.

Research from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving finds that many caregivers believe services like respite care would be helpful, though use of these programs remains low. Just 14% report having used respite care, though 38% feel it would be helpful (up from 33% in 2015), according to Caregiving in the U.S. 2020.

“Across the country, more than 5.5 million veteran and military family caregivers have been caring for loved ones through the COVID-19 pandemic, taking on more responsibilities along with increased worry, stress and anxiety,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “AARP is heartened to collaborate with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to help communicate the support available to these hidden heroes. Respite relief can help lighten that emotional burden for veteran and military caregivers.”

“Now more than ever, military and veteran caregivers are feeling burned out and in need of a break,” said EDF Founder Sen. Elizabeth Dole. “We’re proud to offer the Respite Relief program and provide caregivers the much-deserved opportunity to recharge and practice self-care.”

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