Program now provides caregiver respite relief coast to coast

Photo credit File photo

An emergency military caregiver respite fund has now expanded its services to cover the entire nation.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced the nationwide expansion of Respite Relief for Military and Veteran Caregivers, an emergency fund of no-cost, short-term respite care for veteran caregivers struggling during the pandemic.

“Since the foundation first began its work, we have seen the desperate need for short-term relief among veteran caregivers. The lack of affordable, convenient professional respite care takes a significant toll on the emotional and physical well-being of these hidden heroes and the limitations created by the COVID-19 pandemic have further reduced their respite options,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

National professional home care network CareLinx helped launch the fund with the donation of $1 million worth of services earlier this year. Wounded Warrior Project also contributed an additional $1 million to increase the number of available care hours.

The holiday season is one of the most strenuous times of the year for military caregivers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most caregivers will go without the help of family and friends due to social distancing.

“We know that as the pandemic continues to inch towards winter and the holiday season, more of America’s hidden heroes are going to feel burnout, and we want to make sure they know there is a resource out there for them,” added Schwab.

The fund is expected to cover 75,000 hours of care for more than 3,000 veteran caregivers. Hours will be given on a rolling basis until the funds are depleted.

To be eligible, you must:

- Be a family caregiver to a wounded, ill, or injured veteran or service member (and submit proof of service).

- Request relief support includes one of the following: companionship, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, toileting, bathing, dressing, and grooming. Services do not include types of specialized medical care.

The Respite Relief program offers qualifying veteran caregivers approximately 24-hours of respite care or assistance for their veteran from a qualified in-home care professional in CareLinx’s network. The provided care professionals can perform tasks such as mobility assistance, transportation, bathing and other activities of daily living as well as other needs including companionship, grocery shopping and cooking.

Individuals seeking to learn more can click here. AARP and the Bob Woodruff Foundation have also joined as key collaborators in the effort.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is also providing emergency financial relief funds to support military and veteran caregiver families for this holiday season, Made possible by the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation. It will distribute $200,000 via grants to military and veteran caregiver families in need. For more information, click here.

Reach Julia LeDoux at

Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.