AARP The Magazine

Bringing a Hero Home

Sgt. Cory Remsburg nearly died in Afghanistan. Here's how his family helped him get his life back with love and support

Care for the 'Hidden Heroes'

Some 5.5 million Americans serve as caregivers for wounded veterans, but many are getting by with a fraction of the resources they need to help their loved ones — or themselves, according to a recent RAND Corp. report. To change that, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, along with first lady Michelle Obama, vice presidential spouse Jill Biden and others, is developing a host of new programs specifically aimed at giving caregivers — "the hidden heroes," as Dole calls them — critical financial and legal support, and health care.

"Once these veterans come home, the challenges increase enormously," says Dole, whose Elizabeth Dole Foundation commissioned the RAND report. "Caregivers provide medicine and injections. They manage rehabilitation. They cope with legal and financial issues they hadn't expected. Post-9/11 caregivers, in particular, work to prevent triggers that may cause emotional and behavioral problems."

Obama and Biden, who began advocating for military families through their Joining Forces initiative three years ago, are now working with Dole and other partners to develop targeted caregiver programs, including:

  • Peer-to-peer support forums at all military installations.
  • A caregiver peer-support network with one-on-one mentoring, online communities and community-based support groups aimed at reaching 50,000 military caregivers globally.
  • Training for caregivers on topics such as finances and legal issues.
  • Free financial advice and legal resources.
  • Job creation for the unemployed caregivers.

To tap into these new initiatives, visit

For information on existing support, visit VA Caregiver Support at

Visit AARP's Caregiving Resource Center for a host of helpful resources and additional tools.

— Paula Spencer Scott

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get free basic lenses at

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx discount card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

grocery coupon center member benefit aarp

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.