“The brave men and women, who serve their country and as a result, live constantly with the war inside them, exist in a world of chaos. But the turmoil they experience isn’t who they are; the PTSD invades their minds and bodies.” ~ Robert Koger
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have blown their way thru the southern states leaving behind paths of destruction. Many of us across the country sat on the edge of our seats or spent time on social pages and groups praying that their friends, loved ones or fellow citizens would make it thru – alive. Yet while many of us move on with our lives, the victims of these storms are coming to grips with fact their homes are destroyed and are trying to figure out what to do next. While it may be easier for some people to start over, there are 2 populations that have a bit more difficult than others. Senior citizens and veterans, many are senior citizens who are veterans.
As we get older, we lose people in our lives for various reasons. By the time some of us are reach our Golden Years, we may not have anyone in our lives period. For some seniors, the only person they see for months is their home health aide who helps them survive each day – if they even have an aide. Many of our seniors experienced a wide range of things in life and have gained a lot knowledge and wisdom from their experiences. They deserve our respect.
For veterans, the same may be true but some have more challenges. These brave men and women put on a uniform when they were younger and went to faraway lands they’ve heard about in school. They went and fought to preserve our way of life. Most came back to a hero’s welcome. Sadly some came back only to be shamed by their fellow citizens. This was the case in the 1970’s during the Vietnam War. But there’s one thing I don’t think most of us understand. It makes no difference which war they’ve gone to fight in or which branch of the military they served. Many of these brave men and women have seen horrors that we will never see in our lifetime except on the silver screen. Out of respect for them, I will not rehash the stories I’ve heard. Suffice it to say, most of our veterans suffer from PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(or syndrome). They too deserve our respect.
Many of these seniors and veterans retired and moved south because winter in the north was to harsh for them. Next thing they know, a hurricane comes thru and demolishes their community, perhaps even their home.
In the wake of these back to back hurricanes, help is getting out to most people fairly quickly but for some people, like seniors and veterans, they need more help and they need it fast. Where these folks need the extra help is with their health needs, particularly medicine. A vast majority of these people take daily medications that cannot be stopped immediately. Besides narcotic painkillers, they take medications for depression, seizures, anxiety and others.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten to know a veteran who is a senior. As a vet who served in battle and came home only to be shamed, he’s endured many a long night since then – for nearly 50 yrs. Whatever his reasons, he chose to ride out the storm. He made it thru the wind, rain and even a nearby tornado. Earlier this morning, I found out he needed help and asked for it but was unable to find any. As I write this, he informed me that he was getting the help he needed, thankfully. He is not the only one in his community or state with this problem.
While I know help is getting to everyone as fast as humanly possible, but for some, like our elderly and our veterans, it’s not fast enough. This is especially true when it comes to their health and medications. Many of us have prayed or donated time and even money to help with relief efforts. Today, I am asking everyone reading this to push just a little harder. Say an extra prayer, donate more time or money if you can. If you have a medical background are trying to decide if you want/can help then please do. If you are in the affected areas and know you have an elderly or retired vet, check on them – even if you don’t know them. Make sure they have what they need whether it’s food, water, medical supplies, or whatever. Even if neither of you have spoken and you’re afraid to reach out, remember that they may be just as afraid to ask for help. They may not want to be a bother or burden to anyone.
Personally, I spent a couple hours on the internet and social media looking for places this gentleman could go and found 2 resources for him.
Thought for the day: Put yourself in the shoes of a senior citizen and a veteran. Would you want help even from a stranger?
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