Now that you've made your move and decided upon a new routine, it's time to make changes and adapt to your adjusted life. Some adjustments will take time and require assistance, while others may be simple to put into place. The tips below may help you implement your new plan and make adapting a little easier.
Making housing adaptations
If you haven’t already made physical adaptations to your new home or vehicle, this may be your first priority. Helping your loved one get around in his or her new home will be critical for a smooth adjustment. Possible needed changes may include:
- Widening doorways to accommodate a wheelchair
- Installing ramps
- Paving driveways or sidewalks
- Installing grab bars in the bathroom
- Renovating showers or tubs
- Adding hand controls to a vehicle
As you decide upon your housing needs, remember that as a service-connected family, you have access to resources that can make these projects easier and possibly no cost to you. Contact the resources below to find out what benefits your service member is eligible for.
Wounded Warrior Program - Your service's Wounded Warrior Program offers support through their three R's - recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. As a member of this program, service members receive support for life. Wounded Warrior Programs may be able to assist with transportation needs and housing adaptations. Each service has its own separate program with different offerings:
Disabled Transition Assistance Program - Service members separating with medical disabilities are encouraged to attend a Disabled Transition Assistance Program class, designed to cover all the services available to veterans, including the disability compensation process, Veterans Affairs medical services, and the vocational rehabilitation and employment program. More information is available through the VetSuccess website.
Relocation Assistance Program - In the case of a wounded soldier, this program can offer transition assistance and coordinate with Warriors in Transition programs.
VA housing grants - For veterans with a service-connected disability, the VA offers a variety of housing grants for building, buying or adapting a house to meet their needs. Visit the VA website to find out if your loved one qualifies for assistance.
Vehicle adaptation grants - For veterans and service members with service-connected disabilities, the VA offers a one-time payment of up to $11,000 toward the purchase of an automobile. The VA may also pay for adaptive equipment, repair, replacement or reinstallation of equipment. Visit Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service for more information.
The National Resource Directory connects wounded warriors, service members, veterans, their families and caregivers with resources that support them. To locate further national, state and local resources, search for employment and find information on additional benefits and programs, visit their website.
Finding new employment
If you or your spouse is seeking a new position and have yet to find one, this task is certain to be high on your to-do list. Reading the classifieds and searching online job sites can show you what positions are available in your new area. There are services available to service members and veterans to aid in their career search.
Disabled Transition Assistance Program - Classes through DTAP cover information about employment programs and vocational rehabilitation. More information is available through the VetSuccess website.
Rehabilitation and employment services - The VA helps disabled service members and veterans transition out of the military by offering rehabilitation and employment services including counseling, education and training, job assistance and financial aid. To be eligible, you must have a service-connected disability and require vocational rehabilitation. The program is also available to active duty service members awaiting discharge because of a disability. More details are available at the VetSuccess website.
Managing your household
To start, hold a family meeting to discuss what each family member will contribute to the day-to-day running of the home. Remember to consider the abilities of each family member when assigning tasks, and regroup after a designated period of time to assess how everyone is feeling about their new roles. Creating a 'command center‘ within your home may be a useful way to keep everything organized and all family members on the same page. Your command center may feature information such as:
- Daily task lists
- Phone numbers for all family members
- Emergency or important contact numbers
- A calendar with upcoming appointments and events
- Weekly dinner menus
- Working grocery lists
Making as much information as possible available will allow others to help out as needed and be informed. Some people prefer to use a shared online calendar. These can be easily accessed via computer or smart phone from anywhere and may be beneficial to busy families.
When it comes to tasks that will be completed by your injured service member, consider his or her new abilities and do not assume that tasks performed prior to the injury will still be appropriate. Add new tasks in slowly, allow extra time for completion and have a lot of patience. Hovering over your service member and forcing him or her to rush could create frustration. Focus on his or her abilities, rather than disabilities, to help keep spirits high and frustrations low.
Finding emotional support
Starting over in a new place is always challenging, but it can be extra challenging when you are also helping a family member with an injury. While you may be inclined to focus on all other members of the family, remember it's important to manage your own emotional health as well. Seeking support from the sources below may help you keep your stress at a manageable level.
Ask for help from family and friends. Reach out to your support system, and ask for help when you need it.
Visit your military and family support center. Military and family support centers can provide service members and their families with the additional support they need as they adjust to a new location. Center staff can evaluate individuals and refer them to the appropriate support services and programs. Contact information for your installation's center is available at MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
Find emotional support. It's easy for emotions to run high during a time of transition. Make sure that you have an emotional outlet if you need it. Sometime chatting with a friend or family member is enough, but if you find yourself extremely overwhelmed and in need of deeper support, non-medical counseling is available at no cost to service members and their families through Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.
As you adjust to your new home and routine, remember that you are not alone. Ask for help from sources that you are comfortable with, and take advantage of the programs and resources that are available to you and your family.