Dealing with the challenges of aging can be overwhelming for both the individual experiencing it and their loved ones. An aging Veteran may start to struggle with basic care or face physical challenges due to injury, age, or health. Often, it is not easy for aging Veterans to ask for help when it becomes difficult to perform simple tasks independently, like getting out of bed, showering, or using the restroom. Service members are often recognized for their proud personalities. This attribute is crucial for maintaining strength, especially in the face of significant challenges, such as those encountered during combat. If they begin to struggle with everyday activities, they may choose to tough it out on their own without asking for help. However, aging Veterans and their families have options. There are benefits available that may assist Veterans and surviving spouses with additional support for daily activities. This assistance can help Veterans and their families live more comfortably without relying solely on a family member. However, creating an environment where they feel comfortable seeking assistance is essential. Professional home care services are an excellent option for an aging Veteran or loved one who needs help and wants to stay in their own home.

What do professional caregivers offer?

  1. Skills and Experience – Professional caregivers are instrumental in ensuring the safety of elderly and often have experience and skills to help the Veteran or Surviving Spouse maintain safety at home while aging in place.
  2. Privacy – Aging Veterans and Surviving Spouses may hesitate to ask a family member or loved one to assist with activities such as bathing, dressing, and using the restroom. A professional caregiver may ease some of the discomfort that these clients may feel about accepting assistance with personal tasks.
  3. Companionship – Lack of mobility, losing loved ones and friends due to aging, and other factors can lead to social isolation and loneliness. A professional caregiver can help ease the isolation and loneliness with companionship and social interaction.
  4. Peace of Mind – Professional caregivers not only provide valuable companionship but also offer essential support. Knowing that a professional caregiver is there to provide the necessary assistance can bring peace of mind when you are unable to be with your loved one.

How do you start the home care discussion with an aging loved one?

It can be challenging for anyone to ask for help, especially for an aging Veteran or loved one who fears losing their independence. Many people value their independence and don’t want to feel like a burden to family or friends. They may not be aware of their options or that, with assistance, they can maintain their independence while staying in their own homes.

Here are some tips for navigating the process of discussing home care services with an aging loved one who is a Veteran:

  • Be empathetic and supportive, emphasizing that the goal is to support independence, not take independence away.
  • Offering options can help them maintain a sense of control over their well-being and affairs. 
  • Keep communication positive, patient, and honest. Mutual trust and respect are crucial to problem-solving and decision-making together. No one wants to feel forced or tricked into a decision.

What about Veterans who can’t afford home care?

Some Veterans may not consider professional home care an option because they cannot afford it. Aging wartime Veterans and their surviving spouses may qualify for home care assistance through the VA benefit Pension with Aid and Attendance. Veterans Care Coordination assists Veterans and their surviving spouses in exploring this benefit as an option to help with home care. Veterans seeking this benefit must meet eligibility requirements, such as serving at least one day of active duty when the U.S. was officially engaged in combat, having a doctor recommend home care services, and having the required medical expense-to-income ratio. Professional home care services are an excellent option for an aging Veteran or loved one who needs help and wants to stay in their own home.

Home Care can be an excellent option for Veterans who want to age in place, as these services can provide options for maintaining independence at home while overcoming some of the challenges and reservations that Veterans may experience in receiving care from a loved one. Additionally, ensuring that the Veteran has explored the financial options and benefits available for accessing home care can be a crucial component in the process. Veterans Care Coordination can help Veterans and their families evaluate whether Pension with Aid and Attendance might be an option for assisting with the cost of professional home care services.

About Kyle Laramie, Founder & CEO

Kyle founded Veterans Care Coordination in April 2011. As its founder and CEO of VCC, Kyle is driven by the memory of his grandfather, a World War II Veteran who unnecessarily missed out on essential VA benefits because Kyle’s family wasn’t aware of available opportunities. In recognition of his impact in leadership, Kyle was named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s prestigious “40 Under 40” list and St. Louis Small Business Monthly’s “100 St. Louisans to Know” in 2014. VCC was named a St. Louis Small Business Monthly “Top 20” small business and a finalist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch Top Workplace (2015-2022), St. Louis Business Journal Best Place to Work (2019 & 2022), and the Arcus Awards (2014). The team has served more than 14,000 Veteran clients and their families. Kyle frequently speaks on Veterans’ benefits, addressing conferences such as the Home Care Association of America and Decision Health. He is passionate about giving back and has built a charitable-minded organization that supports various philanthropic efforts.