A veteran needs to know his family cares for him. Many veterans suffer carry physical or mental scars of war, and these scars can run deep – especially the mental and emotional ones.
Children today don’t have much appreciation for veterans because they haven’t had much experience with living in a country at war. Yet helping young children appreciate and honor veterans is good for many reasons; first it gives a gift to the veterans, who risked their lives to save our freedom. It also helps the children to realize how ugly war is and empower them as our next generation to find peaceful alternatives to war.
What family members can do to show honor
There are some fun ways you can get some of the younger family members involved with your elderly veteran as a way of teaching them to understand and honor veterans; it also helps to give a big emotional boost to your aging veteran.
- Let a child (age 5 plus) interview your veteran. Have someone video the interview. Here are some questions to ask:
- What was the branch of service you were involved in?
- What labors did you perform as part of your position?
- What was one of the most difficult things you had to face?
- Describe what it felt like to be able to come home?
- Is there anything else you want to share?
- Older kids can do a more formal interview and then get it ready to submit to the Library of Congress Veteran’s History Project.
- Have your children draw a picture of Veterans Day for your loved one to display in his home.
- Call up your local Veterans Administration Hospital or other organization and have your young family members, along with your aging veteran, go there and volunteer for the day.
What home care can do to help
Your aging veteran may be fiercely independent and insist he doesn’t need help at home. Whenever you bring up the subject of home care he brushes it off. Explain to him that you want to honor him by giving him the help he needs. Let him know that you would be there to help him every minute if you could but you also have children who need you at home.
Convince him to try out home care on a temporary basis at first. You may be surprised how quickly he will realize that it’s really nice to have someone who can give him companionship as well as help him with things he has been finding increasingly difficult, like standing long enough to cook good meals.