The Month of the Military Caregiver is observed in May each year to honor more than five million caregivers in the United States. Paying tribute to the people who care for more than two million veterans is an important part of supporting troops and military families. But for some, it is also about recognizing the work they do that qualifies them as caregivers even if they do not think of themselves that way.

A Rand Corporation report on military caregivers reflects this sentiment. “Those caregivers often toil in relative obscurity, and they are challenging to count or describe.”

They are spouses, parents, children, and relatives of the wounded veteran, but many coworkers, neighbors, and friends also take on responsibilities. They provide care and assistance, promoting faster recovery for their loved ones and thus saving our nation millions of dollars in health care costs.  It is an observance that primarily acts to raise awareness of both wounded warriors and the people who care for them.

It is a good thing to pay respect to those who provide much needed care for wounded warriors, veterans with service-connected and non-service-connected disabilities.  And that is one reason why there are multiple observances each year for those who offer their time and effort to provide care.

If you want to participate in the care of a veteran, no matter what level of training, available time, and awareness of the level of need in your community, it’s a very good idea to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs via the nearest field office or medical center near you to learn what volunteer opportunities may be available.