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Arizona veteran caregivers spend more than other family caregivers

Arizonans who provide care for veterans spend — on average — more than $11,000 on related caregiving costs, according to AARP data. That’s one-and-a-half times higher than what other family caregivers spend. 

Dana Marie Kennedy is the state director of AARP Arizona. 

"Many of them do have traumatic brain injury, TBIs, and also PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. And those are very complex mental health issues, which normal caregivers don't necessarily have to navigate, they may be navigating dementia or Alzheimer's or other memory losses," Kennedy said. 

And Kennedy says TBI and PTSD can be co-occurring. In addition, 43% percent of veteran and military caregivers either took on more debt or dipped into savings.

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.