The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has several programs and resources for senior vets and their spouses that you may not have known about. These resources range from benefits to pay for care to free training programs for caregivers.
The VA has a huge job. It doesn’t just provide assistance to senior veterans, it provides assistance to veterans of all ages. Veterans returning from war — Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular — have taxed the VA’s system significantly, so many VA resources are dedicated to caring for these younger wounded warriors.
However, a significant portion of the VA is also dedicated to helping provide assistance for older veterans too, including:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a guide to benefits that can be used to pay for care. Commonly known as Aid and Attendance, the primary requirements are that the veteran served during wartime (actual combat is not a necessary requirement), that the veteran meets income and asset limits, and requires care. Assistance is also available for the spouses of veterans.
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What’s more, low-income wartime veterans over 65 may qualify for financial assistance from the VA even if they don’t require care through a program known as VA Pension.
You can download our VA Benefits eBook for more detailed information.
The VA has partnered with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to create online workshops to help educate thousands of people who are caring for a loved one who is a veteran and for veterans who are caregivers themselves. Specifically, “caregivers of veterans and veterans who serve as caregivers for someone with dementia, memory problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, a serious brain injury, or any other serious injury or illness [are included]. Caregivers of veterans need to currently be receiving healthcare from the VA.”
The program, “Building Better Caregivers“, is a six-week workshop that is both collaborative and self-paced. Participants work with others, yet don’t have to commit to a particular day or time to complete a module.
Through the online workshops “20-25 family caregivers gather to learn time and stress management, healthy eating, exercise and how to deal with difficult emotions. Participants log on two to three times each week to review lessons, share ideas with other caregivers and access tools to make caregiving easier.”
The program is based on training methods developed at Stanford University that have been noted for their ability to help keep caregiver stress in check. One participant praised the program, saying, “I like the informal nature and self-paced aspect. We all have crazy lives but I think this was easy to do.”
To learn more about the program and how to register for a workshop, you can visit the website.
The VA operates dozens of nursing homes for aged qualifying veterans. Although there can be significant waitlists, elderly veterans who do qualify for care at a VA home receive excellent, low-cost long-term care. A directory of VA nursing homes can be found on the National Association of State Veterans Homes website.
The VA will cover the burial or cremation expenses for qualifying veterans. Qualifying veterans may also be buried in a national cemetery and may qualify for a special memorial headstone.
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