Along with touting my artistic endeavors, I will be presenting articles and thoughts about developments in accessible living for veterans and seniors, and facilities for aging in place and active living. I will also offer information about available modifications that can bring existing homes, businesses and recreational facilities closer to universal design potential (standards), and how building and community improvements will be created through the Brillo Box Development Group.
In the wake of Obama’s promise to address health care for veterans I am flabbergasted at the cover up and the blind-eye the government and especially the Veterans Administration has given this issue for years. There are many layers involved in this scandal but the layer in the middle, the service members and their families are the ones truly suffering. There needs to be a cure for this blockade of aid. This issue has been so severe that in some cases service members have been encouraged to accept medical discharge to seek civilian medical assistance versus being trapped in the red-tape. While working in the armed forces in the early 1990’s, I had a friend who was sent to the medics for a knee injury. Instead of being treated in triage by medical doctors he was told that he would be given a medical discharge because the injury needed to be treated stat and it would be better for to see a civilian doctor because of the length of time it would have taken to be seen and treated.
Since that time I have worked with or spoken with several other retired military service members who suffer from PTSD and have been neglected by the Veterans Administration. Many of these veterans suffer from additional injuries which seem to further impact the PTSD. I have also spoken with battle scarred vets who have lost their family and jobs due to anger issues or illegal drug related misuse. How can we allow this to continue?
According to a 2010 report from the pentagon, mental health issues are the number one cause of hospitalization among male and number two cause of hospitalization among female military service members. The report further states that, " Most notably in this regard, the rate of incident diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increased nearly six-fold from 2003 to 2008," (Keyes) These stats vary between services but may not be perfect predictors of differences between the Marine Corps, Navy, Army and Air Force. Different forces may be using different ratings to gauge results or perhaps skew the results based on military service perception*.
On July 22nd of 2014, President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The law has combined several areas of need including providing opportunities to aid in filling the 23-million work-place positions that the country will fall short of by 2022 as predicted by The Georgetown University Center on Education and the
Workforce. One thing that I feel this law has done is to reduce the rehabilitation Act of 1973 to a segment of the larger Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) law. This is a shame because at the same time WIOA streamlines some areas of government involvement and duties it also appears to downplay the significance of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the improvements and changes that have been made for society through the Act since then. Some celebrate the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the changes involved as a success. I hope to investigate this issue and present the pros and cons of the new law in the context of an aspiring Occupational Therapy worker and an independent remodeling and renovations worker and therapy farm observer.