This post brought to you by National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Parenting Chaos.
As some of you know, my husband is a disabled vet. His disability and PTSD is a very real daily struggle in our home. Recently, he approached me and asked if he could share something that has been on his heart on the blog. I am very excited to be able to share his first blog post with y’all.
As our warriors come home to their families from around the world, many of them come home healthy and safe. However, many of them come home bearing the loss of limbs and scars that are not visible on the surface.
Many will come home and adjust to life normally, but there will be those that don’t.
How to Help Your Disabled Veteran Adjust to Life Back Home
- Don’t rush planning a lot of things at once. Military life is often very ridge and set with routines, anything from PT to chow to even cleaning times, weapon and equipment check times. Breaking this routine can go easy for some for others they find themselves up at 0430 out jogging and doing PT….Give it time, life will come back to normal.
- Food. Not a big issue, but if your special person has been out in the field a long time or in another country, it can take the stomach a bit of time to adjust to eating home-style cooking again.
- Don’t try to do it for them. Military personnel can be very proud; they take a lot of pride in what they can and cannot do. If your loved one has come back and is having problems doing things don’t rush to do it for them. Just ask if they need some help and if they say no respect what they say. Military people live by a simple phrase, Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.&
- Listen. There might be times when your loved one wants to talk, I honestly encourage you to. Even if that means having to change your schedule or even move off to the side wherever you are at. This is important, this isn’t one of those times that you say “Can we talk about it later?” No, you really can’t….
- Don’t say you understand unless you been there. Many people have never had to make the choices they have had to make and it is too easy to sit on the outside and look in and play armchair QB with what you would have done.
- Don’t pry into things if they do not want to talk. Forcing your loved one to talk about something they are not ready for can make the experience more painful. Just like getting into a swimming pool start at the shallow end and walk your way in, but be aware even if it seems like you are only ankle deep, that to your loved one they might be up to their neck, go at their pace
- Quite and alone time is needed. Space to process thoughts and emotions is not a bad thing. If your loved one needs this then please respect that time and help make it a safe way for them to decompress. However, if you notice that your loved one is withdrawing more and more find ways to connect with them without making their alone time a conflict zone.
- Don’t be offended if things are said or done that aren’t normal— AHHH the military life is a rough world unto itself: the language, the mannerisms, the way of acting – those are special and can be hard to understand at times. Remember it isn’t meant to offend you. One-upping and talking crap are all things that happen on a daily basis and heard almost 24/7 so please understand it isn’t you, it is just matter of time to adjust back to a less rough form of addressing others. For some, this is harder than others.
- Encourage and learn to pick your spots. Military people can be very stubborn and fiercely loyal, after all, it is hard not to be when you are counting on the guy next to you to help keep you alive. Don’t force your loved one into making a choice when they are struggling.
- Love them. Fiercely. No matter what has happened to them don’t show pity, show love.
About The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association:
The NMEDA works to improve the lives of individuals through finding the best solutions to increase mobility. Independent mobility is a freedom that many of us take for granted. For those that suffer from a physical disability, the struggle of losing that independence can take its toll. NMEDA and their members start with their NMEDA QAP, is their Quality Assurance Program (QAP), to provide the best wheelchair accessible vehicles and mobility equipment through Accredited Dealers throughout the US and Canada. No matter your mobility challenge, you are receiving the expert attention you deserve.