As we honor America’s heroes on Veterans Day, one health expert who works with vets discusses the subject of mental and physical struggles, specifically loneliness.
Physiologist Karen Owoc, with the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs, says loneliness by far is one of the biggest struggles for veterans, with nearly 44% reporting feeling lonely at least some of the time and just over 10% feeling that way a majority of the time.
The lonelier a veteran is, the more they will withdraw from things, Owoc says.
“A lot of them feel very lonely, feel very lost,” she says. “Loneliness leads to other health problems. They’re at higher risk of heart disease compared to other Americans ages 50 and older. They also have poor outcomes.”
Owoc went on to provide some great ways to support our veterans. Simply asking them about their service can go a long way. Hiring veterans for open jobs — she says vets are mission driven and will get the job done. And hanging your American flag gives veterans a sense of support for the sacrifices they’ve made for this country.
Here’s a list of some organizations where people can reach out and support veterans:
- Sentinels of Freedom
- Wounded Warrior Project
- K9s for Warriors
- Tunnel to Towers Foundation
California has nearly 2 million veterans, the largest by far in the nation. But Owoc says most of them are moving to Texas, which would have the most vets by 2027.
Source: NBC Bay Area