The US Department of Veteran Affairs offers many benefits when it comes to long-term care, assisted living, and senior living. Through their many programs and benefits, these offers can help those who would like to live more independently but might need a little help, as well as those who need to live in an assisted living type format.
Many people do not realize just how many options the VA actually can provide long-term carethrough aid and attendance benefit for veterans who were on active duty and veteran seniors. In this article, we’re going to discuss the many different benefits one can find through assisted and senior living through the VA in 2018, as well as the basics of assisted living through VA benefits. There is a lot of information to learn among all the misinformation that is being spread, so this article is here as a guide for all things assisted living and senior living through the VA.
How does one pay for these types of home care?
Like with pension benefit, this depends on you and your own healthcare plan. Whether you’re looking to live in an assisted living care center through the VA for your daily living or would just like some at home care provided (at any level of dependence), this will be covered in some way through your VA health care. Now, these services may not be fully covered under your healthcare program (depending on the service), so you may need to copay certain aspects so that you can reap the full benefits of your given housing situation.
There are some housing programs or a living facility that isnot covered by VA healthcare—but that doesn’t mean they’re not covered by other health insurances, Medicare, or Medicaid. Before settling down in any given situation, make sure you know what is and what isn’t covered by your VA healthcare benefits, as well as any other private health insurance you may have. The goal is to make sure you have the best deal possible for you while you gain access to the full benefits that your VA healthcare and benefits system provides you for your daily living.
The different forms of home care
There are many various forms of home care that veterans and senior vets who were on active duty can choose from, depending on what they are looking for and what would best fit their needs. Veterans, through the benefits they are provided, can choose to live in assisted living, residential (live-in), or they can just apply for home health care and live in their own property still. These three different levels of home care vary with dependence level.
The VA provides long-term home care for those who are disabled, ill, or elderly in order to help them get the best care they can. These long-term home care benefits can be found in assisted living centers and communities, nursing homes, veterans’ own homes and private homes.There are many different services these long-term housing centers provide, including (but not limited to):
- Physical therapy
- Assisted living, which means help with daily tasks, such as bathing, taking medicine, eating
- 24/7 medical care and an always present nursing staff
- Comfort and help with pain management
Nursing homes through the VA
For those that need some support in their daily life, the VA offers home living options in nursing homes to help seniors get the best support system possible. These nursing homes are split into three different sections: community living centers, community nursing homes, and state veterans’ homes. In all three of these different settings, you would live in the center 24/7 and have access to continuous medical support in an assisted living format.
Community living centers are VA run nursing homes that are created to make you feel as if you were at home. Community nursing homes are not run by the VA, though they are sponsored by them. These nursing homes are more readily available than the VA run nursing homes, as there are more of them across the US in a variety of different areas. These community nursing homes make it so that you can live in an assisted living format while still being in the same area as your family and friends. Finally, state veterans’ homes are run, managed and owned by the state and offers support and care for veterans, and sometimes even veterans’ spouses and parents (depending on the situation).
Residential community or live-in options
For those who still strive for independence and don’t yet need around the clock daily help or medical help, like those that live in nursinghomes do, residential communities or live-in options might be better suited for you. These options are for veterans who don’t need 24/7 help but do need to have a bit of a support system and have no one to look after them. These options fall under assisted living facilities, medical foster homes, and adult family/foster homes. All of these options do actually provide you with 24/7 care and help with daily tasks if needed, though the care is less than what you would get if you were in a nursing home.
Assisted living facilities are communities where veterans can live in apartments or rooms in one large community where they have access to shared dining rooms and community rooms. Medical foster homes are private homes where veterans can live together and be cared for by a caregiver. Adult family homes, or adult foster homes, are rented rooms where veterans can stay in private homes that have six or fewer people. While all of these options are sponsored and supported by the VA, none of them are actually VA organized or VA run. However, the VA does state that they do regular checkups on these facilities and homes to make sure that everything is running efficiently and caringly.
Home health care
If you need some medical support or help with your daily tasks but are looking to stay in your own home, you may want to look into home health care or home support. Instead of leaving your home to live elsewhere where you would gain access to 24/7 medical assistance, you would instead pay for a nurse to be with you around the clock (or during certain times of the day) to make sure that you get the best care that you need. However, the quality of this scenario works depending on where you live (and if there are options readily available to you) and the disabilities or illnesses that you need help with. These services include hospice care, adult day health care, palliative care, home-based primary care, and homemaker/home health aide services. You may be able to use more than one of these services at a time for the best possible treatment and care for your situation.
Hospice care is available for those who have a terminal illness with less than six months to live who are no longer looking for treatment to help with prolonging of life. The only treatment that those in hospice care look for is a treatment to help deal with the pain. Under this care system, hospice workers and nurses come to a veteran’s home and help support those who are sick, as well as the family and the household.
Adult day health care is for those who are looking for a community gathering to add to their daily lives.Adult day health care centers are great for those who would like to find a community similar to their own. Social activities, recreation, and healthcare support are all offered at these centers. Palliative care is a healthcare system where medical professionals come to your home to help you find comfort, treat your pain, and help you go about your daily life in a pain-free manner.
Home-based primary care is similar to palliative care, but the professionals that come to your home to help you in your medical and daily needs are VA based professionals. Lastly, homemaker/home health aide services is a health care system where a trained registered nurse comes to your home and helps you with all of your medical needs.
For those that need short-term care
If you are being taken care of by a family member who needs a break for the time being, there are options you both can consider to make sure that everyone is as healthy and robust as possible. If a disabled or elderly veteran is needing a short-term care professional to come to their house while their primary caregiver takes a break, looking into respite care is the first step.
Respite care may be part of a veterans VA healthcare system, depending on the coverage this person has. Basically, under respite care, a nurse or medical professional comes to the home of a veteran while the primary family caregiver takes a break. This can also be done in a community setting and the veteran or person in need goes to stay in an assisted living typesetting to be taken care of for a short time frame while the primary caregiver regains strength. Other support systems that we mentioned above also offer support for caregivers in a variety of different ways.
Healthcare for those far from the VA
Ideally, there would be a VA center in every part of the country, for every veteran to access it when they need it. However, that’s not how things are, which can be tricky for veterans who don’t live near the VA closest to them or who don’t live near any VA affiliated communities or organizations. However, these veterans still have some options to get home health care.
Veterans can use Home Telehealth is a service that lets a VA care coordinator keep track of your health and activity using technology and monitors set up around your home. If needed, these coordinators will call you to check in and make sure everything is okay. Whenever there is a problem—or, if there is one—the VA care coordinator will work with you and your own doctor to make sure the best care is received, regardless of where you are.
How can you apply for these services and benefits?
If you’re looking to benefit from these VA services, the first step is to make sure you meet all the requirements. First, if you’re not already in the VA health care system, you should sign on up and apply. You are eligible to gain access to the VA health care benefits system if you became an active military member after October 16, 1981. If you have experienced any disabilities while serving in the military and currently receive disability payments from the VA,if you get a VA pension, if you have received a Purple Heart, or if you qualify or currently get Medicaid benefits, you have a higher (and faster) chance of being accepted into the VA health care system.
Once you apply and are into the VA health care system, it’s time to look into the type of assisted or senior living that you’re looking for. The first step is to make sure that there is a service center or service area near you that you can move into. There are currently 132 VA living centers in the United States that offer both short and long-term stays in a variety of different ways. Make sure there is one near you!
If you’ve checked the first three steps off of your list, it’s now time to signal to the VA that you’re looking for a living situation. If you’re looking for an assisted living or medical service along with your living situation, the VA will look into your specific case to better assess what would be best for you in the long run. The goal is to make sure that you’re getting the best care you need, so they’re going to need to evaluate your whole scenario. If you are a disabled veteran that is also getting VA disability benefits, they will also consider this as they try to find an area that you will be best suited to live contently. The VA will also take into account your insurance coverage before they recommend their final decision.
To start your new journey into assisted living through the VA, you should call your VA social worker. You can also call the VA toll free hotline to discuss your situation and be directed on who you should talk to at 1-877-222-8387.