On March 29, 1973, combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam, but for the more than 2.7 million Americans that served in Vietnam, their homecoming was less than welcoming. Vietnam Veterans returned to a society that was torn apart by debate over the Vietnam War. Instead of being honored with parades, they were greeted with hostility or anger and left feeling isolated. As a part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago, The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was established as a day of national observance. The National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29th honors the men and women who served during the longest conflict in U.S. history, whose sacrifices should not be forgotten. Although it is not an official holiday, it encourages Americans to display the U.S. flag in honor of Vietnam Veterans. At VCC, we encourage you to join us in saying Thank You to a Vietnam Veteran for their service to our nation throughout the month of March.
Today, Vietnam Veterans range in age from 61 to 103 years old. Nearly ten million Veterans are age 65 or older, but within the next five years, around 700,000 more Vietnam Veterans will reach retirement age. Most people desire to age in place, where they call home. Beyond the desire to age in place, there are the benefits of home care. Independence is number one along with companionship, exercise, and good nutrition. One way to afford home care is the Pension with Aid & Attendance.
These aging Veterans have more options than previous generations – and as U.S. life expectancy goes up, so does the desire to age in place. In fact, 90% of Americans plan to age in their homes, according to AARP data. Aging in place is a growing trend among Veterans and civilians, alike. But with age comes a natural decline in mobility and energy and weakening of bones and muscles. That might be why only 50% of adults surveyed by AARP Livable Communities said they believe they’ll be able to stay in their own homes as they age.
Aging in place isn’t right for everyone, but for those who are capable of managing daily tasks and caring for themselves, it can be an ideal alternative to a congregate setting. Determining whether a person is capable of aging in place depends on several factors. The following questions are meant as a general guide.
- Medication. Does he/she remember to take medications at prescribed doses and times?
- Meal preparation. Is he/she able to cook and eat balanced meals?
- Safety and mobility. Does he/she have difficulty getting around or taking stairs?
- Personal hygiene. Can he/she bathe, groom, and do laundry alone?
- Transportation. Does he/she still drive? If not, is there an alternate method of transportation available for doctor visits, grocery shopping, ?
- Socialization. Does he/she continue to socialize with friends both inside and outside the home?
- Home management. Is his/her home clean and in good working order & do they check their mail regularly?
If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions it may be time to consider home care. In fact, for aging Veterans or surviving spouses, it could mean eligibility for VA benefits designed to help pay for assistance with these types of tasks.
Veterans and surviving spouses who are eligible can obtain benefits to ease the financial burden of paying for much-needed home care. Our partner providers know that VCC’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all Veterans and their spouses. We navigate the VA’s process of applying for pension funds, maximize their VA pension benefits and get much-needed care started as quickly as possible.
During the month of March, we’re focusing on Vietnam Veterans and assisting them with the opportunity to Age in Place. Don’t let these men and women be denied again. Help us ensure that our wartime Veterans have access to the home care they need in order to continue leading safe, healthy lives in the comfort of their own homes.