In honor of Veterans Day, we celebrate the men and women who dedicated and sacrificed themselves to serve this country. As a Navy veteran, I have developed a sense of pride and accomplishment about my time in the armed forces. At times, I often find myself sharing my experiences and providing insight about what being a veteran meant to me.
To celebrate those who have served this country, here are some helpful tips to show appreciation and to give back to those who gave so much:
- Find the opportunity to treat them. Offer lunch, dinner, or even coffee to a veteran that may be a neighbor, family member and/or co-worker. Whether formal or informal, this gesture shows your appreciation to the veteran and their service.
- Visit your local VA hospital or local veterans facilities, like the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle. If you don’t have a local VA office, contact an assisted living, skilled nursing facility, or retirement community to inquire if they have residents who are veterans. Chatting with elderly or injured veterans is a great way to brighten their day; plus, you’re likely to hear some highly fascinating stories about their time in the service. Take flowers or an activity they could do.
- Visit a veteran in their home. If you know of a veteran who may not have family living nearby or any family of their own, with their permission, visit them. Too often, our elderly veterans struggle with isolation and/or depression. A simple visit and show of compassion can acknowledge their worth to their community.
- Provide support. Find local veteran organizations and support them. Donate money or volunteer your time—many veterans organizations need and appreciate support from the community, especially those that work to meet the needs of homeless veterans. Learn how you can help.
- Learn and listen to veterans. Allow time for veterans to share their stories and experiences. In turn, you may be inspired by their experiences, dedication, and commitment to serving their country and its people.
Most importantly—celebrate veterans every day! Special recognition should not be reserved for one day. Remember and honor those who have dedicated themselves to uphold freedoms that we enjoy every day.
Contributor Suzet Tave, MSW, LSWAIC, is a PEARLS counselor for the Seattle Human Services Department, Aging and Disability Services. Read her article, PEARLS for Veterans Supports Spouses Who Are Caregivers, in the March 2019 issue of AgeWise King County.
In-home counseling is available for veterans, veteran spouses, and spouse survivors who experience symptoms of depression, are age 55 or older, and are low-income residents of Seattle or King County.
If you are or know of any veteran who may be interested in receiving in-home counseling at no cost, contact Suzet Tave at 206-615-0533 or e-mail Suzet.Tave@seattle.gov.
For more information about PEARLS—the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives—visit agingkingcounty.org/PEARLS.