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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure build-up a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Kentucky Veterans' caregivers financially overburdened

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Friday, November 10, 2023   

Veterans Day happens once a year, but all year round, Kentuckians provide care for the veterans they love. According to data from AARP, they spend on average more than $11,000 a year in out-of-pocket costs related to caregiving.

In a region with a high number of military families, said Gary Adkins, AARP Kentucky volunteer state president, the stresses of veteran caregiving affect entire communities.

"It's a terrible situation," he said. "Kentuckians caring for veterans shouldn't have to worry about finances on top of their caregiving responsibilities. But many do."

Research shows 43% of veteran and military caregivers experienced at least one financial setback, such as having to take on more debt or dip into personal savings. The Department of Veterans Affairs' Caregiver Support Program offers financial-aid, mental-health and respite-care services, but only 34% of Kentucky's more than 233,000 veterans have used these benefits at their local VA center, according to census data.

Nationwide, millions of veteran and military caregivers provide the equivalent of $14 billion in unpaid labor. Adkins said veterans and their families deserve better.

"Our veterans have fought for our families, for our country, and a world where our kids can grow up and inherit a future," he said. "Unfortunately, a lot of times, our veterans are left hanging."

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation has developed an online guide for veterans and their caregivers to help prioritize mental and emotional health. Tips include talking and processing feelings with a friend, counselor or therapist, engaging in positive activities, setting boundaries, and recognizing warning signs such as changes in alcohol consumption or persistent feelings of hopelessness.

AARP also has a Family Caregiving hotline, open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, at 877-333-5885, and online through the AARP Facebook Family Caregivers Discussion Group.

Disclosure: AARP Kentucky contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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