How To Honor The Unseen Faces Of Veterans On Memorial Day While Caring For Their Survivors
Pegasus Home Health Care serves patients throughout the greater Los Angles area, including the San Gabriel Valley, Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita, and San Fernando Valley. Providing in-home medical care is our expertise. Our nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and home health aides assist patients in recovering from illness and injury, and safely manage chronic conditions, allowing them to remain at home and in their community.
Pegasus in-home nurses in Pasadena and elsewhere utilize their extensive clinical skills to assist their clients. But they also understand the importance of empathy. One example is how career home health care nurses honor the unseen faces on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day Honors Deceased Veterans
Although our licensed professionals care for individuals of all ages, many patients are older adults. Many of them are part of a Gold Star family. That means a loved one died in the line of duty.
Some are veterans themselves, and others are widows or widowers of veterans. Some may have lost a child to wartime activity. Others may have lost a parent, sibling, or other immediate family member.
For all of them, Memorial Day is a day of poignant remembrance. It is not the same as Veterans Day. The latter is an opportunity to thank living veterans for their service and sacrifices.
Memorial Day was established to honor those who died while serving their country. Accordingly, saying “Happy Memorial Day” is often inappropriate, even if you mean well. Let your knowledge of your patient guide you in marking the day.
Sharing Is Caring
Most people automatically respond with “I’m sorry for your loss” when they learn of a death. As a nurse, you probably do not have the same uncomfortable feelings about death as others may experience. That doesn’t mean you always know what to say when faced with someone’s grief.
Everyone grieves differently. Even though the death may have occurred years ago, feelings can still be raw. Inviting your patients to talk about their loved one can help them heal.
Let them know that it’s okay to express their emotions to you. Give them time. As a professional, you know how to stay objective while personalizing your comments as much as possible.
Encourage your patient to contact the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). “TAPS offers help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a military or veteran loved one.” Their dozens of services include:
- A helpline
- Peer support
- Connection to counseling
- Community groups
- Grief and loss education
TAPS help is available to all survivors of a deceased service member. The circumstances or causes of the individual’s death are not hindrances to receiving TAPS grief assistance. Their assistance is available 24/7 at 800-959-8277.
Veterans Experience Visible And Invisible Wounds
Not every veteran death occurs on the battlefield. Veterans can return home with wounds that take their life months or years later. Some wounds are invisible.
Statistically, in these modern times, more soldiers die by suicide than in battle. The reasons are complex and extremely varied.
Some die from intentionally taking their own life. Others succumb from substance abuse.
Although these veterans didn’t die during warfare, their military experience led to their death. Unfortunately, their families can face accusations of “stolen valor” if they honor them on Memorial Day. As more people become aware of the “mental injuries” related to service, that is changing.
Your patient may be coping with more than the usual grief of losing a loved veteran. Their grief may be compounded by the fact that suicide or substance abuse caused the death. You may be the only person who can help them express their feelings.
Other ways you can help them include:
- Providing factual information about the causes of addiction and military suicide. Facts potentially help alleviate any guilt they may feel about their loved one’s death.
- Showing them how to deflect unkind or derogatory comments about the cause of death.
- Teaching them self-care techniques that help with grief recovery, including meeting their spiritual needs.
- Connecting them with grief support groups, such as TAPS.
Let them know that you understand that their veteran died due to their military service. They deserve the same honor on Memorial Day as other veterans.
How Your Patients, You, And Your Family Can Honor Deceased Veterans
Everyone can honor fallen veterans on the National Moment of Remembrance. That is, observe a minute’s silence at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day. Flying a flag at half-staff from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day honors those who died protecting Americans.
Additionally, wear a red poppy. Listen to the National Memorial Day Concert. Visit a cemetery, place a flag on a veteran’s gravestone, attend a parade or memorial service.
Join The Team That Cares
Pegasus in-home nurses in Eagle Rock and our other locations work one-on-one with patients. They customize their care to meet the needs of each individual. Our career home health care nurses understand the importance of Memorial Day and honoring those who died serving their country.
Pegasus Home Health Care is an equal opportunity employer. We’re recognized as an industry leader. We’re hiring licensed professionals dedicated to providing quality care to others.