AGED veterans in Wales have provided an important service for their nation and can look back at their careers with pride and satisfaction.
But as they become older, many will face physical and mental health challenges caused by both their age and their time in the services.
A new bilingual “wellbeing manual for older veterans” aims to provide key tips for older veterans so that they can enjoy a healthy and happy retirement. Supported by the Royal British Legion’s Aged Veterans Fund and developed by mental health charity Hafal on behalf of veterans’ project Change Step, the guide was produced in close consultation with veterans and covers a number of areas, from rights and benefits to mobility and mental health.
Ted Owen, 92, an Ex-Royal Marine Commando and veteran of D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and Walcheren, said: “At different times in life we all need help with everyday issues caused by our service or age. If you are an aged veteran you may need support to make j better.
“The Aged Veterans Self Help Manual has been put together to help you find that support. It is the result of consultation with aged armed forces veterans like me who have experienced issues and have been supported by veterans’ organisations.
“If you don’t have someone you can talk to, would prefer to speak ex-service people or have concerns about an older veteran, this manual can help you find the right information and support.”
The guide incorporates a comprehensive directory which includes contact details for a number of health and veterans’ organisations who can provide support for older people. It also addresses a number of areas of concern for this group, including loneliness and isolation, remaining independent and dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Geraint Jones, director of Change Step, said: “This comprehensive resource is full of practical and useful guidance for older veterans and their families, and is the result of collaboration between specialists who work with veterans, with older people, and with people who have needs related to their mental health and wellbeing.
“But most importantly, it has been developed with and alongside older veterans and their families from across Wales. Direct involvement of this kind empowers the people we work with, and helps us to ensure that we deliver what they need.
“I hope this fantastic guide will become the go-to manual for older veterans and their families in Wales, and that it enables former members of our armed forces and their loved ones to access the best help and support available.”
Alun Thomas, Chief Executive of Hafal, said: “This self-help manual was developed by meeting with and talking to older veterans, and it tackles they key issues as identified by them. It contains the wisdom, advice and insights of veterans who know from experience what works best when it comes to tackling these problems.
“We are delighted to have been involved in producing a guide for this very important group who have given so much to their country through their time in the services, and who deserve all the help they can get to enjoy their retirement.”
The guide was produced as part of Change Step’s Aged Veterans project, which is delivered in partnership with Age Connects North Wales Central.