Thanks to increases in life expectancy and medical advancement, the number of senior (65+ years old) war veterans living in the U.S. who have served in conflicts including World War II as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars hovers around 12.4 million. The challenges facing these veterans however rarely ended when they returned home.
Health and Wellness Challenges Facing Aging Veterans
Active duty armed forces members face plenty of physical challenges in combat, but many of their most difficult ones do not manifest until they return from deployment or are (hopefully honorably) discharged. Studies have shown that 10% of deployed military personnel return with disabling injuries sustained in combat, while a host of others suffer from lingering pain and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) leading to cognitive and brain disorders.
Additionally, mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, sleep disorders, and anxiety are among the most common issues facing veterans. If left untreated, these issues can lead to substance use disorder (SUD) – drug abuse that causes clinically significant impairment. Even without SUD, aging veterans may need additional care to ensure their safety and wellness. The rate of suicide among military veterans is alarmingly high, 50% higher than the national average, and equaling to approximately 30 deaths per 100,000 veterans. Luckily, Abcor Home Health caregivers are experienced in dealing with the unique needs of veterans.
NOTE: If you or a veteran you care for is in need of support for suicide prevention, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line.
Help and Healing for Veterans in their Own Home
With much appreciation for their sacrifices, many programs funded by the government, including military pensions, are available to veterans and their spouses who wish to remain in the comfort of their own homes as they age. Most veterans and their spouses who are in need of home care are covered for benefits under the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) standard Medical Benefits Package. These benefits include access to home health aides or homemakers for assistance with short-term or respite care in the home. For elderly veterans who are confined to their premises with a need for general assistance in daily activities such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, travel to appointments, and medication management, this service is a flexible, affordable option that can help your loved veteran retain his or her sense of independence.
Aside from basic monthly pension payments, some veterans and their surviving spouses who are bed-ridden or otherwise home-bound or disabled may qualify for Aid and Attendance (A&A). A&A benefits can provide for veterans who require more comprehensive and instrumental in-home care such as assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, incontinence care, and any other medical-related needs.
Also dependant on clinical need and eligibility is the option for home-based primary care. Under the standard VHA Medical Benefits Package, disabled veterans can receive primary care visits at home by a physician, physician’s assistant, or nursing professional for medical exams as well as therapy visits from speech, physical, and occupational therapists. Also available to help manage mental health and emotional challenges are licensed professionals and social service workers. Primary care coverage also extends to cover medication and even nutrition and dietary counseling.
Many options and opportunities for supporting veterans and their spouses exist today, making it easier than ever to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for your loved one who sacrificed in support of their country. Learn about elder care for veterans by visiting Veterans Affairs or find out how you can help subsidize the cost of Sbcor’s Chicago home care for your loved one with state assistance.