As we get older, it’s only natural to give some thought to downsizing. Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of all those household responsibilities that come with owning your own home? No more mowing, raking or shoveling. No worries about your furnace, water heater or fireplace.
The first step then, might be a senior living community such as Discovery Village Senior Living. Many seniors start out in their own independent senior living apartment. And all of those homeowner tasks disappear – you even get three gourmet meals a day!
If you need more assistance now or later, you can choose to live in the assisted living or memory care communities. You can be as independent as you like but assistance is on hand 24 hours a day if you need it. If you need less help than you’d get from assisted living, Discovery Village also provides home health services to those living in their own apartments. Aides will stop by to provide minor assistance with tasks such as medication management and showering.
Sounds great, right? Well, the biggest concern for many seniors is whether they can afford a care community. It’s a valid question, but if you take a look at what you’re paying now – for food, home upkeep, and transportation, alone — you may be surprised at how affordable senior living can be. And if you have a home to sell, keep in mind that you’ll have those funds available as well.
Take advantage of Veterans Benefits
And there is good news for the many seniors – and their spouses –who once served in our armed forces. Many are surprised to discover that there are quite a few benefits available to them later in life. Benefits for veterans range from a small burial allowance to a substantial contribution toward long-term care.
Here’s an overview of some of the benefits for older veterans. Anyone wanting more detailed information about benefits and eligibility can contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000 or www.va.gov.
Eligibility requirements — To be eligible, the veteran must have been honorably discharged. Benefits apply to veterans that served at least 90 days (at least one of which was during wartime) or their surviving spouse. And if the veteran is 65 years old or older, there is no disability requirement. According to the Senior Veteran’s Service Alliance, almost 25% of people over 65 could qualify for this benefit, but only 5.4% of those eligible are actually claiming it at this time. So see if you or your spouse can qualify!
- Aid and Attendance benefits – This is a monthly payment for vets or their surviving spouse who are unable to care for themselves – in short, they need “aid and attendance.” While some of these seniors live in an assisted living community or nursing home, the benefit also applies to those in their own home, condo or apartment who receive in-home health care. **Note – your income and assets are also figured into eligibility requirements.
- Nursing Home care – Veterans’ health care has three national programs that help veterans who must live in nursing homes. These include both short-term and long-term care. Veterans can qualify if they live in a VA-owned community living center or a state veterans home. In addition, the VA has contracts with locally owned nursing homes in smaller communities. This is a good option for veterans who do not live in an area that has a VA-operated facility who wish to stay close to family and friends where they currently live.
- Other long term care services – The VA offers other long-term veterans benefits for seniors including geriatric evaluation, respite care, hospice or palliative care, and adult day care services.
- Medication – Veterans with VA health care can receive breaks on prescription medications. A typical co-pay would be $9 for a 30-day supply of medicine with a maximum of $960 annually. Certain veterans, including those with a service-related disability, those getting medicine for a service-related condition, and low-income veterans receiving a VA pension qualify for medications with no co-pay.
- VA health care benefits – The Department of Veterans Affairs offers health care for veterans at more than 1,400 sites in the U.S, including clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities and even counseling centers. Certain veterans may even be reimbursed for travel to a VA facility.
- Burial allowances – For veterans whose death is not service-related, they may be entitled to an allowance for the funeral and burial or funeral plot. Veterans who served during wartime are also eligible to receive a U.S. flag draped over the casket or urn. A family member may keep this flag after the funeral.
With the exception of career military veterans, most seniors were discharged from the military many years ago. And many don’t realize that Veteran’s Affairs offers such a wide range of programs and senior benefits to help them as they age. Eligibility may vary by program so be sure to check out www.va.gov.
Discovery Village At Twin Creeks offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 972.440.1218.