Veteran family finds relief through VA caregiver support

Program empowers wife to be better caregiver for Marine Corps Vet


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Veteran Adam Wilner served 24 years in the Marine Corps and retired in 2017. Today, following deployments, injuries, surgeries and disabilities, Adam and his wife Bobbie are finding relief through the VA Caregiver Support Program at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System.

In the Marines, Wilner served as a communications security specialist, martial arts program instructor ,and recruiter. He and Bobbie married in 1999. They have one daughter, Sonya, and a four-year-old granddaughter.

During Adam’s military career, the Wilners moved 11 times, with five permanent changes of station and several deployments. While that rate of change can challenge even the strongest families, Bobbie was ready.

“Both of my parents are former Marines. Being a sergeant major’s daughter certainly prepared me for a Marine family of my own. It gave me the ability to adapt to new situations and places,” she says. “Our relationship has weathered and thrived throughout deployments, floats, work-ups, schools, recruiting duty, injuries, surgeries, a house fire and retirement. While our new normal isn’t what we would have chosen for ourselves, we both are adapting and trying our best to make the most of it.”

“Decided to give it a shot”

One of the most difficult adjustments came after Adam’s retirement. He had several service-connected disabilities, including a degenerative disk disorder that led to two spinal fusion surgeries, PTSD, and migraine headaches. Because he was unable to perform many day-to-day activities, Bobbie became his full-time caregiver. She researched support options and discovered the VA Caregiver Support program.

“When we learned of the program, friends had told us that it was too difficult to be accepted into. But we decided to give it a shot.”

The VA Caregiver Support program empowers Bobbie Wilner to be a better caregiver to her husband Adam.

For Bobbie, the caregiver support program “has been an integral part of my ability to care for my husband, as it not only helps to offset my loss of income, but it empowers me to be a better caregiver through educational resources and the aid of my support coordinator.”

Enhanced services for eligible participants may include a financial stipend, access to health care insurance, mental health services and counseling, caregiver training and respite care.

“The program provides me opportunities to learn more about my husband’s health conditions as well as how to better care for him and myself in the process,” says Bobbie. “It gives me access to information I may not otherwise have about caregiving and the benefit of other caregivers’ experiences. I know that when issues arise, our coordinator is there, ready to help, which is a great source of comfort.”

Bottom line: Apply

The Wilners have a simple message for Veterans and their families who are unsure if they qualify or if the program is right for them: apply.

“It’s worth the time and effort,” says Bobbie. “When we [as caregivers] are empowered, we can provide quality care to our Vets and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.”

Caregiver support coordinators are available at every VA medical center to help Veterans and their caregivers with the application process. Help is also available at 1-877-222 VETS (8387) and www.caregiver.va.gov/.


John Archiquette is a public affairs specialist for the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System.


Read more:

VA Caregiver Support Line brings sense of community and peace to caregivers

VA strengthens Caregiver Support Program

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Comments

  1. carlos    

    This is an injustice and must be corrected. The VA/Congress allows telehealth to be used for medical appointments but does not allow for its full use for the Caregiver Program. The difference, the monthly stipend. When it comes to money that compensates a portion of loss wages by the caregiver the VA/Congress does not allow full use of the telehealth technology.

  2. Tommy Locklear    

    The VA needs to support and ask Congress to change the regulation that allows the VA to conduct the in-home visits utilizing telehealth technology. Current it’s allowed for quarterly visits but not allowed for the initial and annual visits. This regulation disqualifies VET’s residing in some American Territories and all Vet’s residing OCONUS.

    This is an injustice and must be corrected. The VA/Congress allows telehealth to be used for medical appointments but does not allow for its full use for the Caregiver Program. The difference, the monthly stipend. When it comes to money that compensates a portion of loss wages by the caregiver the VA/Congress does not allow full use of the telehealth technology.

  3. Paula Minger    

    Very inconsiderate of the V.A. to be talking about this.

    Since 2010 only POST 9/11 vets have received this help including up59 $3200 for wives to be caregivers.

    90% being paid deals with a Vet claiming questionable PTSD and or a MILD TBI

    These young vets still drive, socialize travel got to free events and retreats

    A 100% physically wounded Vietnam Veterans is deneid all these services

  4. Amaya Deakins    

    Gee I would apply but I’m 2 years divorced after a 20+ year marriage because my wife gave up on me and decided it wasnt worth it. Thanks VA.

    1. Paula Minger    

      If he served before 9/11? You wouldn’t have been eligable

  5. Dwayne Gordon    

    VA Caregiver Support program may Be difficult to be accepeted into but its always worth giving it a Shot.. i Encourage families of disabled Veterans not to give up. And posts Like this are really good as the testimonies will encourage others and make them know that VA Caregiver Support program is worth giving a shot.

  6. Jerry Middleton    

    I would love to apply. My wife has given up her business to take care of me. But, because of some arbitrary date (that I and many other veterans believe is unconstitutional because of its discrimination) , I am not able to. The veterans that have been discriminated against would like to know when the VAs IT department is going to bend over and yell pop. The money has been appropriated by legislators. You have to wonder where that money is going right now?

  7. Charlie Patrick    

    Wow really nice, and they look happy.

  8. Valid Education    

    Beautiful family, they are so cute.

Comments are closed.