The Auxiliary's View... 

by Darian Slayton Fleming

In the last BVA Bulletin I discussed the importance of being a caregiver and the need to make time to care for oneself in order to be ready and available to care for a loved one. I made reference to VIST Coordinator Valerie Duffy’s presentation at the past national convention.

Val made the trip to Spokane from Boise, Idaho, to share some of the strategies that can reframe a caregiver’s thinking about care of self as well as care for a spouse or other family member. Lack of space precluded me from sharing these strategies in the previous column. They can be expressed as follows using the acronym RESCUE
  • R— Reach out. Seek activities that enrich and rejuvenate us. Find people who are able to listen.
  • E—Exercise daily. Some type of exercise works wonders. Exercise need not be all physical. Even mental exercise such as doing crossword puzzles or writing can take our minds off our troubles and help us evaluate those troubles with the proper perspective.
  • S—Sensible eating combats compassion fatigue. Preparing extra servings of meals while cooking, cutting up vegetables in advance, and keeping healthy snacks on hand may help us eat more sensibly when we are too busy to cook later.
  • C—Calm the inner storm. Just a few minutes of meditation, reaching out to friends for support, and seeking respite help us to regroup and have more patience with ourselves and our loved ones.
  • U—Utilize resources. Seek counseling. Attend regional BVAA meetings for support. When we seek support and make use of resources, we can find rejuvenation.
  • E—Enjoy life. What did we enjoy doing before becoming a care provider?  Find ways to re-engage in those activities or in new ones.
While serving as a caregiver, we should be alert to scams that could cause havoc in our lives. Recently a social worker sent this message to her colleagues and asked that we warn others. A fraudulent company called Lifewatch, USA is contacting veterans, claiming that it offers a health alert system (similar to Lifeline or Guardian 911) that was prepaid by a relative or friend and needs to be delivered.

Trusting people may believe that the company is truly associated with VA and accept the offer. The vendor does not attempt to dispel misconceptions about the “product” and asks for credit card numbers, indicating that the $400 device is free but that there will be a $34.95 monthly fee for the health alert service.

Veterans are further told that the device cannot be sent without credit card information. When credit card numbers are provided, the company sends the devices and a written contract saying that if the device is returned, there will be a $50.00 restocking fee (this is not relayed on the telephone). When individuals receive their credit card statements, they learn that they were billed $34.95 on the same day that the transaction on the telephone took place and of course before they received the device.

Please don’t give your money away to scammers. Instead, save it and attend the BVA Convention August 18-21, 2014, in Sparks, Nevada! For more information, stay tuned to future Bulletins and to www.bva.org.