Using Innovative Tools to Support Military Caregivers
Over 30 percent of family members who completed the Blue Star Families annual survey identify themselves as military connected caregivers. Of that 30 percent, nearly half reported feelings of extreme emotional stress. Using this information, Blue Star Families set out to help support military caregivers – the people who support and care for our nation's wounded warriors.
In partnership with the United Health Foundation, Blue Star Families created the Military Caregiver Online Interactive Program, an online tool using avatar technology to create simulations and care scenarios for caregivers to problem-solve and address real-life challenges to care. With a virtual program, caregivers around the world can access the training wherever they are, despite their frequent moves to new states or countries.
The Military Caregiver Online Interactive Program helps military caregivers communicate with those around them about what's happening not only with their wounded warrior, but also themselves. The training helps caregivers ask for help, navigate difficult conversations, and build a community – an important component given the sense of isolation that comes with this role.
"We often find that military spouses are isolating themselves from others because it's such a challenge for them to explain what they are going through as a caregiver and what their wounded warrior is going through," said Sherri Wilcox, senior research advisor, Blue Star Families. "Using this type of technology will increase the reach and accessibility, and even the relevance of the training needs of military connected caregivers."