CONTRIBUTED CONTENT: What can you do to assist veterans and their families?

Article submitted by Brian Boyd. Brian started EldersPlace with his Grandpa Jerry as a way for Jerry to learn a few internet surfing basics. After a little experimentation, the two decided to give it a mission: to help senior citizens get the most out of their lives as possible. Brian and Jerry both hope EldersPlace will make a small difference in senior citizens’ lives.

Unless you have been in the military yourself, it’s difficult to comprehend what it is like to serve. The average citizen can only imagine the sacrifice our troops and their families make on a daily basis, as well as thestrain they endure. While there isn’t a way to repay those who are in service, our veterans, and their families, there are things you can do to thank them.

Adjusting to Civilian Life

When someone is in the military, virtually every aspect of life is unlike that of their civilian counterparts. The environment is very different, and when someone leaves the military, the adjustment can be quite challenging.

For instance, if they never worked in a civilian job, the hiring process might be foreign to them. Thankfully, organizations like Hire Heroes USA coach veterans through the job hunting journey, and you can volunteer to help or donate toward the cause.

If you’re in a position to employ people, you can contribute in a more hands-on manner by offeringapprenticeships to veterans. Veterans are typically organized, detail-oriented, self-disciplined, and commit to tasks. There are other benefits employers gain as well, such as tax incentives. It’s a great way to give back and add quality personnel to your staff.

Another learning curve for many veterans is establishing services. Chances are they never arranged things like insurance or medical care before, as the military provides those things. Many veterans qualify for health care through the VA, but it’s a system some find difficult to navigate. If you know a veteran, consider helping with the enrollment process and becoming familiar with the VA health care system. You can use this guide from the Week to help.

Help a Retired Vet

Older veterans often experience issues with navigating the Medicare system. Even though they can use VA and Medicare coverage together, they can still have out-of-pocket expenses. Supplemental insurance like Medigap can help, but older veterans don’t always realize what it is and how it helps them. It can help fill in coverage where there are gaps between the VA and Medicare, thus minimizing their out-of-pocket expenses.

As an example, Medicare Parts A and B help with many things, as does the VA, but one of the issues veterans face is emergency care. If something life-threatening should arise, the closest hospital might not be part of the VA system. Supplemental insurance can help cover whatever expenses are incurred; Plans F and G offer the most comprehensive benefits. The primary difference between those two plans is G does not cover the Medicare Part B deductible, while F does. However, also note Plan F is a high-deductible plan.

Be a Good Neighbor

Is there someone you know whose family member is currently on active duty? The separation can take a tremendous toll on military spouses. However, there are some wonderful ways you can simply be a good neighbor. If a family recently relocated to your area, reach out to see if they need a hand with something, or simply need information. Sometimes, just getting a reference for a good handyman or babysitter can be a godsend to someone new to the area.

If you don’t know someone personally who is a veteran or is associated with the military, another way to connect on a personal level is to check in with a local charity. explains there are several nonprofit organizations throughout the country that help military members and veterans. You can donate, volunteer, or support them by attending local events such as parades, auctions, and fundraisers, or simply share about them on social media. Often, moral support is just as important as other actions.

Chances are, you know someone who either is in the military, at one time served in the military or has a family member in the service. It’s a challenging lifestyle, and those of us on the outside looking in can only glimpse what life is like for them. Consider the many ways they sacrifice to protect our freedoms and search out an opportunity to give back.