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Beckley VA Medical Center

 

Caregiving: VA recognizes the Labor of Love

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women, man, discussion

Janie Flanagan (left), caregiver support coordinator, talks with Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Chris Cozort and Michelle, his wife and caregiver, about VA’s many caregiver benefits.

By Debbie Voloski
Monday, December 12, 2011

Caregiving:  VA recognizes the Labor of Love

Commitment, love, and sacrifices are accurate descriptions for those caregivers who provide the daily care needs for Veterans.

Their service often comes with great sacrifice to their personal life and with limited medical training or preparation.  “It’s a labor of love,” says Michelle Cozort, who provides loving care every day for her husband, Chris.  Mr. Cozort received a back injury in Iraq just one week prior to returning stateside.  He is a combat Veteran who retired during March 2011 after serving in the Army for 22 years.  

Caregivers like Michelle Cozort, who also cares for her and Chris’ 10 year old daughter and was working outside the home, must strive to find a balance with the demands of caring for a loved one, while at the same time, being honest with your personal needs and making time for yourself and your personal goals.  The Cozorts’ now receive assistance from the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 which has allowed her to forgo her job in order to provide full-time care to Chris.  Another means to be successful is to establish and maintain the relationships with others that can provide support to the primary caregiver.  VA fosters this by employing caregiver support coordinators at medical centers across the country. 

Janie Flanagan, caregiver support coordinator at the Beckley VAMC says, “Personal caregivers bring that warm, family touch of love that no one else can provide.”

The National Caregiver Support Line is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Eastern Time.  The National Caregiver Support Line Toll-Free number is 1-855-260-3274.  

For more information, please see VA’s updated caregiver website:  www.caregiver.va.gov.