As a veteran, you know the value of independence. Americans are innately an independent people; we thrive on making decisions for ourselves and calling our own shots. What does independence mean to you on a daily basis though? What does it mean as far as your ability to take care of yourself and live without having others make basic decisions for you?

Being free to choose what to do and when to do it is a part of our heritage, but we may lose that basic freedom it if we become too ill to care for ourselves. As an Independent Living Specialist, it’s my job to seek out ways to help veterans stay independent in their daily lives. That may involve identifying those things that limit independence, or suggesting alternative behaviors that promote independence. Sometimes that can make me rather unpopular! But that’s ok so long as the veteran has all the information needed to make an informed decision.

If a particular course of action is going to cause trouble, it’s not my job to discourage it. It is my job though to point out the ways it might be harmful. I may also offer alternatives if I can see any. It kind of makes me sound like a nosy old busybody, but I like to think of it more as a trusted advisor or a coach. Ultimately, it’s not my decision and I’ll support whatever choice is made. I don’t always make the best decisions either, and I want the right to make mistakes too. After all, that’s how we learn!


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