RCI Applauds RAND Study on Military Caregiving

AMERICUS, GEORGIA — Dr. Leisa Easom, Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, issued today the following statement of support for “Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers,” a report by the RAND Corporation:

“The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) congratulates the RAND Corporation for its landmark study of military caregivers, ‘Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers’ and applauds Caring for Military Families: the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, for commissioning this important work. RAND’s report offers a new and much more nuanced understanding of a population that until now has gone largely unstudied. Further, the report differentiates within this broad group to provide insights into an even more specific population: post-9/11 military caregivers.

RCI has worked closely over the past few years with the families of service members who have served in the global war on terrorism through our innovative program, Operation Family Caregiver. We know that these military families have distinctive characteristics and needs. In particular, and as the RAND report points out, they are young, with nearly two-thirds having gone to war before their 29th birthdays. As these young servicemen and women return from war, the transition can be jarring. Those with both visible and invisible injuries lean heavily on loved ones for help, but their caregivers – in many cases, young spouses or aging parents – are frequently unprepared for the extensive burden that caregiving can entail.

The RAND report specifically calls for services that will help caregivers plan for the future and that will empower them to better cope with the stress and strain of caregiving. We could not agree more, which is why we launched Operation Family Caregiver in 2012 with the generous support of Johnson & Johnson. Operation Family Caregiver is an evidence-based and personalized program, tailored specifically to the struggles of each family. Caregivers who have completed the program are more satisfied with their lives, report fewer health issues, and are generally more prepared to take care of their families – great outcomes to date. We need help to meet the needs of the 2.5 million service members who have served since 9/11. Now is the time to invest in strong and healthy military families, and we urge other organizations to join us in meeting this challenge.

We again thank the RAND Corporation for reinforcing the value of and great need for support of military caregivers, and we thank the Elizabeth Dole Foundation for funding this important work. We look forward to collaborating with both organizations, Johnson & Johnson, and many others whose work supports our service members to ensure that military families are honored for the heroic work they are doing on behalf of our great nation.”