Senior Guidance

Veteran Assisted Living Guide

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Veteran Assisted Living Guide: Benefits, Facilities and Programs

As veterans become older, they may not wish to remain in their homes as it may become quite lonely. In most cases, the elderly may not be able to complete a variety of everyday responsibilities safely and satisfactorily. They do not have to suffer in old age because they can move into assisted living facilities where they can spend their golden years in a supportive environment surrounded by their peers.

What Are Assisted Living Facilities for Veterans?

These are community-like places where individuals who once served in the U.S. Armed Forces (including Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and Navy) can spend their post-retirement years. They offer a pleasurable and safe environment where senior citizens can thrive as they engage in the things they love while getting assistance when they are in need. All this is thanks to the recreational and social activities that are available all through the day. You can read an introduction to VA assisted living at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. You may also want to read about how to prepare for moving to assisted living.

This senior housing option enable veteran seniors to live independently which is beneficial because it is cost-effective and it assists individuals with a sense of self-reliance.

Inhabitants have the option of buying or renting an apartment or room.  Some even come with private bathrooms and kitchenettes. Here an occupant can also decide on whether to share a living space or share with their spouse or friend.

Most of the assisted living homes also offer a variety of communal spaces where neighbors can meet and interact.  These can include libraries, dining and entertainment quarters. Senior citizens can either prepare meals in their apartments or eat the ones that professional chefs prepare in the centers. Care that the homes offer is significantly less than the ones that nursing homes provide, so if skilled nursing care is required, then a nursing home would be a better option.

Currently, multiple homes make it possible for residents to age in place. They can take care of the ever-changing needs of their clients so that they never have to look for another facility as they grow older.

Such homes regularly put in place different measures that facilitate these needs. It can include the purchase of durable medical equipment that helps inhabitants to function as independently as possible. These can consist of some items such as:

  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Home hospital beds
  • Ventilators
  • Home blood testing kits
  • Nebulisers

Types of Care

The residences that house veterans and their colleagues usually offer different levels of care that ensure they meet individual needs of occupants. Before a veteran moves into the assisted living facilities, they must go through an initial assessment. It is where the staff members get to know what kind of needs the veteran has. Personnel comes up with a care-plan using the details so that they do not offer blanket services and end up side-lining some retirees. Examples of care that veterans get at assisted living centers include:

Personal Care: trained caregivers make sure that the veterans get a helping hand with daily tasks. These can consist of toileting, incontinence, eating, taking a bath, and grooming. A majority of the veteran retirement communities also arrange for health experts like nurses and doctors to visit the premises and offer occupants additional care.

Medical Care: although assisted living residences typically do not offer extensive medical services, there are some that employ nurses and collaborate closely with other medical personnel who help to look after the medical needs of the veterans. They offer a variety of services including therapeutic services, drugs administration, diagnosis and treatment of a variety of ailments to help veterans remain as healthy as possible as they enjoy life in their new assisted homes.

Mental Health Services: as part of medical care, some residences go further to admit veterans who are in need of mental health services. These typically support individual as well as whole family services that cover different aspects such as military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress, readjustments, depression, and substance use disorder. Please note that mental health services are covered under VA Health Care. This will be covered in more detail later in this guide.

Chore Services: the elderly veterans and their surviving spouses often need help with the upkeep and the maintenance of their living quarters. Activities like cleaning the house, changing light bulbs, or yard work can be quite challenging. Professional staff members at the residences typically take care of all these chores if the veterans so wish to ensure that the veterans always stay in a clean, secure, and safe environment.

Adult Day Care: there are very many senior living communities today that extend adult day care services to the veterans in need. They provide primary care services, meals, assistance with daily living responsibilities, and social as well as recreational activities for the veterans who do not want to board but want a place where they can spend the entire day in good hands. The residences offer supervision and care that the veterans receive in a group setting to make it one of the most effective techniques of looking after the veterans who need almost constant supervision.

Respite Care: it is a formalized manner in which family members or any other individuals get a break from looking after the veterans. Many senior housing apartments include this type of care in their service package

Special Programs to Pay for Veteran Assisted Living

Seniors who once served in the U.S. Armed Forces can take advantage of some special programs that can help them pay for assisted living facilities.

To offset assisted living costs, some of the programs available to veterans include:

VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

VA Aid and Attendance Benefit is a part of “improved pension” that the Veterans Administration provides. It is in the 3rd tier of the improved pensions each that usually comes with its qualifications and benefits.  The financial aid is set aside to give veterans as well as their spouses’ additional monetary benefits.

VA Aid and Attendance covers individuals who need with daily living responsibilities. These can include things such as eating, bathing, undressing, dressing, going to the bathroom and medication dosing. The seniors who are blind or patients of nursing homes because of physical or mental incapacity can also benefit from the funds.

A veteran under this program can get up to $1,794 every month, currently. Surviving spouses, on the other hand, can access to at least $1153 monthly. If a person can prove that their countable income adds up to $0, they have a chance of receiving the maximum benefit.

Eligibility:

Certain conditions are applicable before a veteran, or their spouse can access the cash that the pension program offers as they must:

  • Have served the USA in military capacity even though it was not in actual combat.
  • Been discharged NIL and proceeded to work for about 90 days or more of active air, naval, or military service with at least one day during the periods of war.
  • Be above the age of 65, but there is an exception for the ones who are younger but are disabled. 
  • Have countable income that is that less than the maximum amount that is pensionable at the end of the year. Officials who facilitate the programs always review current income and assets of people who apply for the program to ensure that they need financial aid.
  • Meet the limitations of net worth to qualify financially; the applicants should have less than $80,000 in assets which excludes vehicles and homes.

How to apply for Aid and Attendance Benefit:

Senior citizens should always prepare well before thinking about filling the applications form to complete the process in the right way. Remember that the process is typically lengthy and adequately detailed. It, therefore, helps to try and find out as much information as possible before consulting a Veterans Affairs Officer.

In order to apply, you must write to the Pension Management Center in your state.

Documents that a person needs to start the application process include:

  1. Separation or discharge papers (DD-214).
  2. Copy of death certificate if it is the surviving spouse who wants to apply
  3. Copy of marriage certificate 
  4. Copies that show or prove net worth information which includes CDs, bank accounts, trusts, annuities, bonds, and stocks.
  5. A copy of the latest social security award letter - it is the one that a person gets when the year begins revealing the monthly amount for the year which comes from the Social Security Administration. 
  6. Copies of medication, insurance premiums, Medicaid or Medicare and medical expenses or medical bills that insurance does not cover.
  • VII. The copies of all income statements from retirement, pensions, and interest income from annuities, investments and other sources.
  1. A physical statement that indicates name and address, medical status, current diagnosis, prognosis, and ability to look after self, including traveling unattended.
  2. A list of all the hospitals visited and doctors seen in the last year.
  3. Employment history - note that it does not apply for the ones who are above the age of 65.
  4. Banking details where the program will be making direct deposits. A person should also enclose a void check.
  5. A court order of appointment for the court-appointed representatives of the veterans or their spouses.

Worth noting is that there are three tiers of the improved pension for individuals who once served their country that include:

  1. Basic Pension: it gives cash assistance for low-income veterans and their dependents. In the case, applicants must have low income and be healthy.
  2. Housebound Benefit: persons who apply for these must need assistance with day to day activities on a regular basis.
  3. Aid and Assistance: the third tier requires that a person gets assistance daily.

(HCBS) Home and Community-Based Services

Home and Community-Based Services allow veterans to receive care services in their homes or even communities. Communities also include assisted living facilities as residents also receive certain HCBS. These come in handy as they help to reduce the cost of staying in the veterans’ preferred assisted living facilities.

For instance, veteran retirees in assisted living facilities receive primary care as well as a hand with the everyday task. Older adults pay for the assistance they require. Because outside experts from Veteran HCBS come in and offer the services instead, it can significantly reduce the bills that a person ends up paying at the end of the month.

VA Health Care

This is health insurance for veterans that will allow you to pay for assisted living and other long-term care and home health services. You can apply for VA Health Care here. There are multiple services included in VA Health Care, and it helps to pay for:

It is very common for veterans to experience post-traumatic stress disorder, among other things, after being discharged from the Armed Forces. Some other common issues include depression, substance abuse and others. VA Mental Health Services will help cover costs associated with treatment of mental disorders and problems after being discharged.

  • VA Dental Care
  • VA Vision Care

Veterans who have visual impairments can be eligible for VA’s vision health benefits. The care ranges from services that cater to primary eye care to the intermediate as well as advanced clinical vision care. These can include:

  • Vision-enhancing devices
  • Clinical examinations
  • Specialized training in utilizing innovative vision technology
  • Inpatient rehabilitation for individuals who are blind. The center's primary focus is on enhancing skills like mobility, communication, recreational, orientation, and other daily living activities.

State Veterans Homes

These are an excellent option for veteran seniors who do not qualify for Aid and Assistance or even DAV. Although they are operated, owned and managed by various state governments, they offer similar services to the privately owned assisted living facilities.

In state veteran homes, veterans can benefit from an extensive range of services that include domiciliary care, personal care, dementia care, and skilled nursing care. The residences offer the veterans and their surviving spouses superior and dedicated care. They date back to Civil War Era where multiple states developed the homes to provide shelter for the disabled and homeless war heroes. You can locate state veteran homes here.

Speak to a VA Social Worker If You Need Help

Because the benefits can be quite complicated, it is advisable that seniors speak to a VA social worker. VA social workers can also closely collaborate with a veterans’ benefits planner.

Veteran benefits planning is an exercise that advisors or planners conduct. The professionals are responsible for providing veterans or their surviving spouses with understanding and assistance about all the benefits that they can get. These are people who can hold the aging individual’s hands through the entire claim process or various stages where they require a hand from preparation and planning of the application materials and appeal where it is necessary.

The Department of Veterans Affairs employs some of the planners, while others volunteer for organizations like the Veteran’s service organization. Others even work independently. The elderly can also choose to work with accredited advisors who can officially represent the elders before the VA. Note that the accreditation is not an endorsement by the VA or a sign of official recognition that the planner is capable or competent. It just gives the veteran advisor permission to represent the veteran when they are making claims. Therefore, it is only essential when the person who is making a claim wants to take advantage of official representation. Furthermore, a family member or a friend can also represent the Veteran even without the accreditation with the only condition in place being that they only serve a single person.