Veteran’s Day might not get as much recognition as Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it has great meaning for the 21.8 million veterans living here in the United States. While an estimated 2.5 million veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are 7.3 million vets who served in Vietnam and an additional 1.7 million who served in World War II. That’s a combined 9 million elderly veterans who have age-related health care bills to pay.
The good news? There is financial help for veterans, especially when it comes to in-home care costs, long term care and disability compensation, all of which can be essential to quality of life and quality of care as we age.
Veterans Benefits For Seniors
The Department of Veterans Affairs offer wide-ranging financial help for veterans who are over the age of 65. The VA provides aging veterans with “benefits and services that address a variety of issues including the changing health risks they face, as well as financial challenges through VA benefits and health services.”
For those elderly veterans who need help with in-home care costs, you may be eligible for the following:
- Aid & Attendance (A&A) Pension: The A&A Pension is a monthly stipend for those aging vets who “require the aid and attendance of another person,” and are paid in addition to the monthly pension. The VA specifies that eligibility is built upon the necessity of receiving help from another person in order to perform functions of daily living, such as “bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.”
You are also eligible for this stipend if your disability has rendered you bedridden, if you are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, or if you are legally blind in both eyes.
- Housebound Pension: In addition to the A&A Pension, the VA also offers help for veterans who are confined to their homes due to a disability through the Housebound Pension. The Housebound Pension is only for those who suffer from a permanent disability, not those who are temporarily rendered immobile. It’s also worth noting that both veterans and spouses of veterans cannot receive both the A&A Pension and the Housebound Pension at the same time.
For those veterans who are aging and dealing with chronic disease, the VA also provides veterans benefits for seniors in the following ways:
- GeriPACT: GeriPACT stands for Geriatric Patient Aligned Care Team and are specialized care teams that “provide healthcare for Veterans with more than one chronic disease and with declining mental and physical capabilities.” They integrate traditional healthcare services with local community-based services in order to help aging veterans maintain “as much independence and quality of life as possible.”
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care: The VA also provides help for veterans who have received a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Their Dementia Care Services offer a variety of aid, including home based primary care, adult day health care, respite care and palliative care, just to name a few. They also provide comprehensive caregiver support services, which they acknowledge as being “an essential part of these services.”
- Local Resources For Overall Well-being: In addition to all this financial help for veterans, the VA also provides “ways to enhance your well-being through classes, trainings, and other resources at your own VA medical center and greater community.” The VA website provides a variety of well-being resources for aging veterans, along with links to connecting with resources in their local communities. The goal is to help senior veterans stay active, safe and healthy as they age.
Helping Veterans Age Safely
For those veterans who have chosen to age in place, Medical Guardian is proud to supply them with medical alert devices that can help to keep them protected should an emergency occur. Like the veterans benefits for seniors that are offered through the VA, Medical Guardian aims to help vets age with dignity on their own terms.