Memorial Day: Caring for Veterans

May 30, 2023

Memorial Day is a U.S. holiday that honors and mourns the military personnel who have died while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifice of those who came before us – so it’s no surprise that many choose to spend Memorial Day with elderly loved ones and relatives. There are now nearly 10 million American veterans of senior age. 

While Memorial Day is intended to honor the people who served and who gave their lives in defense of this nation, it’s also a time when we should be talking about giving our living Veterans the proper level of care that they require. A great way to honor deceased Veterans is by supporting those who are still alive. Many Veterans are in need of assistance, whether it's help accessing healthcare or simply the need for companionship. Memorial day is the perfect time to think about homecare for Veterans. 

Veterans and Homecare 

When people think about veterans’ home care, they might not think about much more than what the Veterans Administration (VA) offers them. In other words, it’s easy to assume that the VA will be able to provide the right accommodations and care for aging veterans. However, that’s not always the case. There are many budgetary limitations that the VA has to contend with and that has led to a significant decrease in the amount of money that they can offer Veterans. Even wounded soldiers returning from the battlefields of contemporary wars are having a tough time finding the right level of care through the VA.

That being said, the VA does offer financial assistance for senior living and long-term care. Certain financial benefits are available for eligible Veterans for care options including memory care, home care, independent living and assisted living facilities. Eligible Veterans and surviving spouses who need assistance with the Activities of Daily Living may qualify for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension benefit, which can help cover in-home care costs. To qualify, Veterans must meet VA pension requirements and have a documented need for help with the Activities of Daily Living. Such activities include bathing and getting dressed, remembering to take medications on time, cooking and eating healthy meals, running errands and attending medical appointments. It’s not necessary to need help with all these activities to qualify for A&A, a Veteran only has to require help with just one or more of them.

The A&A benefit provides up to $1,794 per month to a qualifying Veteran, $1,153 per month to a surviving spouse, and $2,127 per month to a couple. A veteran filing for A&A with a spouse who needs care may receive up to $1,410 per month. Veterans and their spouses who are approved for A&A can use their benefits to hire in-home care providers, including family members working as caregivers. In the case of family caregivers, as well as other caregivers hired directly rather than through an agency, the veteran or spouse must provide a regular paycheck, and all payments must be reported for income tax purposes.

The A&A application process can take several months to complete, and benefit funds will not be available during the processing period. (Applicants over the age of 90 can include a request for expedited approval with their application.) However, people whose A&A application is approved will receive retroactive benefits dating back to the original application date. These are paid out as a lump sum, followed by regular monthly benefit payments.

Supporting Seniors on Memorial Day 

Memorial Day with elders doesn’t have to be a completely somber event. It should be a time for reflection, but it should also be a time for celebrating lives and the freedoms we have. For many senior citizens, Memorial Day is a bittersweet time. According to Statistica, 43.92% of people aged 75 and over are veterans. As a result, the chances that an elderly loved one has been personally impacted by the loss of a friend or family member in the armed forces are quite high. 

For those that prefer low-key, peaceful remembrance, quiet activities at home are a great idea. Alternatively, for those that enjoy getting out of their home, a loved one can organize outdoor or social activities. Make this Memorial Day with elders a particularly special one by partaking in one, or some combination, of these Memorial Day activities:

  • Pay respects: If a loved one has lost someone close to them in the line of service, this day is a good opportunity to pay quiet respects or leave a token at their grave site.
  • Share memories: Memorial Day is about remembrance – something vital to many seniors. Encourage loved ones to explore their memories, relive times gone by, and remember those no longer with us.
  • Attend a Memorial Day parade: Each year, hundreds of Memorial Day parades are held across America. This is an excellent opportunity to show gratitude for servicemen and servicewomen. It’s also a good chance to connect with the community and get moving in the fresh air.
  • Visit friends: Often, the best people to share memories with are those who lived through them with us. For a loved one, the chance to remember alongside friends can have a positive effect on their emotional well-being.
  • Spend the day with family: Having a large, extended family dinner allows loved ones to spend quality time with those closest to them– the most important thing our veterans have sacrificed for.
  • Raise the flag together: This can be a powerful, but laid-back, way to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our county. It is also a more accessible way to commemorate the holiday with a loved one who has limited mobility.

In Conclusion: 

True Care honors our country’s Veterans by providing the high-quality home care needed to help them keep their independence and maintain their dignity. We provide services veterans receiving homecare need most including memory care and comprehensive in-home assistance designed to meet every individual veteran’s unique care needs.

Whichever way you spend the holiday, be sure to cherish this chance to remember, give thanks, and spend time with those you care for. If you or a loved Veteran in your life is in need of VA home health care, don’t hesitate to contact True Care at (718) 854-8783.

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