Not everyone has the guts to put one’s life in danger to serve the country and protect its honor. The soldiers fighting for the cause of their country and its integrity are among the best patriots. If the soldiers are proud of their flag, the flag is also thankful for their services. The flag tries its best to provide for them and their families. The healthcare system is particularly noticeable in this regard. The U.S. Military Health System provides healthcare facilities to the uniform personnel and their families. There lies a system called TRICARE within the U.S. Military Health System. In 40% of the cases, medical treatment occurs at a military treatment facility or a base. In 60% of instances, medical care is available at hospitals or other healthcare facilities with which the government has contracted.
Life as a Veteran:
Things usually change a little bit after you become a veteran. Some say it feels like you are 18 years old, lying in your bed with no purpose in life. Others describe being a veteran as a daily grind of remembering your mistakes while in the military and the harsh decisions you had to make.
While joining the armed forces has its perks, it can be difficult for the soldiers in many other ways. For example, it can affect their physical and mental health. Here we will discuss how veterans can take care of their health after retirement and the various options available to them in this regard.
1. Veterans’ Healthcare benefits:
Retired military members receive medical care under TRICARE or Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The healthcare cost depends on the status you had while in the military. Veterans with a service-related injury or illness get free healthcare. Mesothelioma is a service-related disease caused by asbestos exposure. It is common among veterans. The government has set up Mesothelioma Veterans Center to provide healthcare benefits to veterans suffering from this disease.
Various diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, brucellosis, shigellosis, leishmaniasis, and West Nile virus can also be acquired during service. These diseases usually develop in those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
All veterans can apply for VA benefits through a proper channel. First, you should fill out a VA Health Benefits Explorer form to understand your eligibility. You can apply online for the benefits. You will then receive an official determination from the office of the Veterans Administration. The benefits you will receive from VA depend on your medical condition and priority group. The priority groups determine which healthcare benefits you will receive, how soon you will get the services, and how much you will have to pay for them. The priority group can change if your service-related medical ailment gets worse. When your income changes, it can also change your priority group.
Being a veteran, you must take care of your food intake. Mismanagement in nutrition can lead to various diseases. Nutrition and Food Services (NFS) of the United States provides nutritional services to veterans. Registered Dietician Nutritionists work through counseling and mentoring the veterans about their wellbeing. They also educate them about disease prevention. NFS gives proper management plans for food intake to prevent and manage diseases like diabetes, cancer, kidney diseases, and neurological disorders.
3. Quitting smoking:
Many soldiers smoke during deployment. According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, 7 out of 10 who smoke want to quit to improve their physical health. Many of them successfully quit smoking. The VA counsels veterans on why and how to quit smoking and how quitting can improve their physical and mental health. Various medications, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy and varenicline, are used.
4. Polytrauma System of Care:
While serving, you might suffer from traumatic brain injury. When you have suffered a brain injury that has led to significant physical debility or a mental condition, it is known as Polytrauma. Polytrauma System of Care, or PSC, is a network of rehabilitation programs for veterans and active-duty personnel. The PSC includes evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, care, and treatment for those suffering brain injuries. It also provides psychological support and rehabilitation to its patients.
5. Mental Health:
The veterans may suffer from suicidal thoughts, PTSD, depression, anxiety, bipolar syndrome, and Schizophrenia. According to research, veterans’ suicide rates are at a peak, with almost 6000 veteran suicides annually. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides all the support you may need to prevent these disorders. There are various support groups available for you that can help you out in your difficult times. In support groups, some people are also going through similar problems or have suffered them in the past. These people are ready to help. As a veteran, you must take care of your mental health.
6. Physical Health:
After becoming a veteran, life may slow down for many of you. But it should not affect your daily routines. You should carry out, if not all, many of the exercises you used to do while in service. Doing this will keep you physically fit. Daily jogging or walking can freshen your mind and open it up.
7. Social Health:
It would be best if you thought about improving your social skills. You will feel different after retirement. How well you adapt to the new environment will depend on your social skills and health. You might be sitting in your backyard and still feel like being in Afghanistan’s rough terrain. If you want to tell people about your heroic stories, you must know how to communicate with people who don’t wear uniforms. You can improve your communication skills by practicing and attending social gatherings.
Being a veteran is a great honor. The years in military service reshape your life. The love for your country makes you capable of doing great things for it. There is no doubt that your presence in the military has served many great purposes. Your firm and rightful mind have protected thousands of lives. Now you must take care of your health. Many departments are working tirelessly to improve your health and provide benefits. They are ready to provide financial as well as emotional support to you. The veterans can utilize all the above services to care for their health. You have served the country well, and now it is the country’s turn to serve you. The country thanks you for your services.