As a veteran, it can be difficult adapting to life back home – but it can be even more difficult if you’ve acquired a disability. Life as a newly disabled veteran can be full of challenges; from claiming benefits, making changes to your home and finding a new purpose away from the armed forces. But you’re not alone, and there are people who want to help you. So, if you’re a veteran, how can you adapt to life with a disability?
One of the first things you should do when you return home is find out what benefits you’re entitled to. You may even wish to hire a veterans’ disability lawyer, who can fight to get the financial support you deserve. Many veterans in the US are entitled to a higher disability rating than they are getting, and either aren’t aware or haven’t been able to access it. You’ll be dealing with lots of other stresses upon your return home, so make sure you ask for help if you need it. You deserve to get the benefits you’re entitled to.
Changes to your home
Your new disability might mean that you have reduced mobility, and therefore you may need to make some changes around your home. This might involve installing a stair-lift, lowering cabinets and light switches or widening doorframes so there’s enough space for you to navigate around in a wheelchair or with a frame. You may also wish to invest in some new home comforts like a sofa or chair that allow you can relax comfortably. Whatever you need, make sure you get the help to change your home accordingly – you need to be able to move around as easily as possible in the place you live. If your home isn’t adaptable, then you may need to consider moving house.
A new hobby
Many veterans who have returned home find it difficult to find a new purpose in life, especially when they have a disability that restricts them from working. So, you may wish to take this time to try out a new hobby or join a social group. Adaptive sports, for example, can be a great way to socialize and utilize a lot of the skills you’ll have as a veteran, such as team-work, motivation and problem solving. There are even specific sports groups for disabled veterans. However, if joining a sports team doesn’t sound like your thing there are plenty of other activities and groups you can try. Why not explore something new and creative, like music or art?
Talk it out
While your disability is new to you, it’s also new to your friends and family. It’s important not to let your disability create a raft between those you love. Whilst you might be struggling to adapt to your life as a disabled veteran, you need to be able to communicate your concerns to your family. You may also want to think about getting support from a mental health professional, who will have experience in the field and will be able to help you through the difficult transition.