Denise Taylor: Hidden Hero
Hero Behind the Hero
The Independence Fund recognizes heroes in many forms. Some are in uniform, some have obtained Veteran status, and some are the caregivers for the ones who risked everything to fight for our freedom. Denise Taylor is a caregiver hero devoted to providing the necessary care for her husband to maintain a healthy physical and mental lifestyle.
Denise has been the primary caregiver for her husband, a U.S. Army Veteran, for five years now. She finds joy in caring for him and knows that although this role required a total lifestyle change, it was the right decision for their family. Denise had to resign from her job to care for her wounded husband. Her commitment is unwavering as daily life consists of distributing medications properly as needed, preparing meals for the entire family, taking her husband to appointments, and being available at all hours of the night should he require assistance.
It is not a caregiver task that Denise considers her biggest challenge. Rather, the greatest difficulty is watching her husband get around with less mobility and independence than he did in the past. "His injuries have caused him great pain and inconvenience; however my being his caregiver has made a tremendous difference,” she says. She is grateful to have their daughter to help with caregiving tasks when needed. "If civilians knew what caregivers do on a day to day basis it would allow them to have a view of a real life wounded soldier and how it affects the whole family,” says Denise.
Encouragement and Relief
The Independence Fund has provided Denise and her family with encouragement and relief. "Going on the [caregiver] trip to Galveston this year changed my life. I was able to meet other caregivers and hear their stories and learn techniques to manage stress,” she says regarding her experience at The Independence Fund’s caregiver retreat. She says, "Things I gathered from the caregiver retreat were to take the time to involve the whole family with the joy of knowing my wounded spouse is alive and with us daily. Taking care of myself by utilizing the advice given during the retreat was so helpful and made a great impact on me as a caregiver. I encourage every caregiver to use everything that The Independence Fund has to offer.”
Her husband is in need of resources such as a wheelchair since he is unable to walk well on his own. The VA has denied their request to receive one. With an approaching knee surgery, a need for a wheelchair is crucial. The Independence Fund seeks to aid Veterans and their families with mobility equipment when other resources such as the VA are unable to provide it.
Denise advises that anyone who is just starting their journey as a Caregiver should attend caregiver meetings and focus on self-care in addition to caring for a wounded Veteran and the family. Being able to provide her husband with around-the-clock care and home cooked meals is important to Denise. "I have learned to never take life for granted, [and to] enjoy the fact that you can provide the best care possible for your wounded Veteran,” she says.
91% of all donations go towards our assistance programs and make a direct impact on a Veteran or Caregiver family. You can help families just like Denise's by making a contribution to our Caregiver program fund. Our Caregiver programs include retreats, support networks, and pampering services for the overlooked heroes behind the heroes. A donation of $4000 will enable us to send the Caregiver of a wounded Veteran to a caregiver retreat.
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