As a thank you to all those who are serving and who have served, Home Helpers North Central CT and Western MA is co-sponsoring two Veteran’s Day events for veterans today and tomorrow, at the Mansfield (CT) Senior Center and at the East Longmeadow (MA) Senior Center.
Community Relations Co-ordinator Kathleen Mack (center) meets veterans at the Mansfield (CT) Senior Center Veterans Day lunchon.
In serving older adults in our community, we often help those who have served in the military. Members of my family and of the family of our employees have served, so it is a great honor to be able to help these elderly veterans every day.
In striving to fulfill our mission to support and make life easier for individuals wherever they call home, we care for many aging vets. While serving in the military, they took care of us—and now it’s our turn to take care of them.
According to the 2012 U.S. Census brief, Veterans age 65 or older were more than 12.4 million in that year. These Veterans served in conflicts around the world including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and even in the Persian Gulf War. Many served in more than one of these. Per the US Census Bureau, in 2015 there were around 900 thousand veterans who served during World War II, 1.8 million who served in the Korean War and 6.8 million Vietnam veterans.
Now they face the challenges related to aging, while they try to continue to live independently, at home.
The Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) recently released “Caring for America’s Seniors: The Value of Home Care”. It brings data, information and statistics about our aging society, and how home care provides tools for families to help them keep their loved ones safe and at home. Some key findings include:
- 40% of adults who are 65 years old or more need daily assistance, and 70% will need it at some point
- 25% fewer doctor visits occur when home care is in place
- $25 billion a year in hospital spending is saved nationwide with home care
- $13.4 billion a year is the amount in annual employer health care costs saved by the use of home care services
I don’t think I am alone in believing that in almost all situations, in-home care is the best option to help elderly veterans continue to enjoy the freedom they have served to protect for all of us.
Here are three reasons why:
1) In-home care allows veterans to live independently at home.
No one looks forward to leaving their home and their family to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and our veterans deserve this least of all. By taking proper precautions and providing the best support, we can help our elderly loved ones remain independent, aging in place where they feel comfortable and familiar: at home.
2) In-home care gives the veteran’s family peace of mind.
Having sacrificed for others, many older veterans want to avoid feeling like a burden on their loved ones. But when an elderly veteran gets sick, or starts to need help with activities of daily living, the care duties often fall to the closest family member.
This is where in-home care agencies come in. The helping hand we provide frees family members to be family members again, rather than family caregivers. With a trusted professional caregiver in place, the family can rest assured that their older veteran is in good hands—and he can enjoy the fact that he isn’t overburdening the family anymore.
3) In-home care may be covered by the Aid and Attendance Benefit.
The Aid and Attendance Benefit helps veterans and their spouses to receive the in-home care they need. According to the Veterans Administration, it is an increased monthly pension amount paid for a qualifying person or his/her spouse who meets one of these conditions:
- Require help performing daily functions, which may include bathing, eating or dressing.
- He/She is bedridden.
- He/She is a patient in a nursing home.
- He/She eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
It is estimated that 2 million veterans and their families are eligible for this little-known funding assistance from the federal government. Many of our nation’s heroes need help with activities of daily living because of injuries, aging, dementia and more, and the Aid and Attendance Benefit is there to make sure these vets get the in-home care help they need.
This benefit can reach as much as US$ 25,020 yearly, to pay for home care, depending on some conditions. The process of obtaining this benefit through the VA can seem daunting, but there are organizations that can help you go through the paperwork and even start paying the benefit before the approval by the VA. Veterans with service conditions may also benefit from VA programs.