A recently released RAND Corporation study of more than 28,000 military caregivers finds that there is a need for increased support for the 1.1 million-plus spouses, parents, and friends caring for veterans injured and disabled since September 11, 2001. The Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers study found that caregivers provide an estimated $3 billion in care annually, but despite those contributions, there are few public or private programs that directly support their needs. Researchers identified more than 100 programs that report offering services to military caregivers, but found few target their services directly to caregivers. Most of the programs targeted the veteran, with family members who serve as caregivers invited to participate, and those that do focus on caregivers focused on older caregivers. Additionally, findings indicate the caregivers are often younger, are usually employed outside the home, and are more likely to care for someone that has a behavioral health problem. These caregivers also experience more health problems than non-caregivers experience, face greater strains in family relationships, and have more workplace problems than non-caregivers have.

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