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Troops, Military Families Build Confidence With USO Caregivers Conferences

Friday, February 22, 2013

By Christian Pelusi 

As the USO prepares to convene its fourth USO Caregivers Conference at Camp Pendleton, Calif. on Monday, Programs Manager Jackie Green and her USO Warrior and Family Care team are able to see the impact that the one-day conferences are having on troops, their families and their caregivers.

“Every caregiver and service member has a unique story and experience to share,” Green said. “No one ever dreams that they will be a caregiver of a wounded, ill and injured service member. What we have learned from these conferences is that our caregivers are some of the strongest, most compassionate and selfless individuals we have ever met. We commend every caregiver, spouse and service member for their sacrifice and hope to support and honor them during each of our Caregivers Conferences.”

Ninety-nine percent of conference attendees surveyed said they felt a renewed sense of hope and confidence following the event. That statistic gives planners and presenters satisfaction that their efforts are making a difference while also showing future conference attendees that the sessions accurately target their needs.

“We have reached over 400 caregivers of wounded, ill and injured service members during the past three conferences,” Green said. “During this year’s conference, caregivers will be traveling from Hawaii, Iowa, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas and Arizona. The interest and desire for caregivers to travel so far to attend this event is true testament to the need for more programs like this that recognize and support caregivers throughout their journey.”

The conference at Camp Pendleton will once again offer sessions led by highly regarded Stronger Families and game on Nation.

“Stronger Families and game on Nation continue to deliver high caliber programs that support our caregivers and service members," Green said. "We are fortunate enough to partner with Stronger Families throughout the year to host couples seminars at various military treatment facilities to build couples communication and intimacy after injury. Despite the wound, injury or illness, it is important that couples take the time to enhance their relationship while going through recovery. 

Stress and burnout are some of the common feelings that caregivers experience, according to Green. Enter game on Nation.

"game on Nation has provided a unique tool for our caregivers and military support staff to use during their day-to-day activities to help manage stress and fatigue by using laughter and improvisation," she said. "Sometimes our caregivers forget that in order to take care of their loved one, they have to take the time to take care of themselves. The Caregivers Conference is a time when caregivers can meet, share and learn from other caregivers and also take time to laugh and come together as a community.”

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There's still time to register for the fourth USO Caregivers Conference. Sign up now. 

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