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Veterans and assisted living

Posted October 22, 2014 in Advice Column, Bondurant

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day.  A little more than two weeks later, Nov. 27, is Thanksgiving. I appreciate the proximity of the two holidays, because I’m especially thankful for the freedom and peace that our military ensures for us. We appreciate their families, as well.

As our World War II, Korean Conflict and Vietnam era veterans approach their senior years, they may require assistance from another person with their activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming, taking medication, eating, mobility/transferring and toileting). Assisted living communities will provide veterans and their surviving spouses that much-needed support and provide it with dignity, privacy and individualized attention. Additionally, most assisted living communities will enthusiastically welcome veterans receiving the federal pension, Aid and Attendance. This federal program is administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and is for veterans living in an assisted living community or a board and care home. They must have served in the military a minimum of 90 days with at least one day of active duty during a designated wartime period. Eligible veterans must be at least 65 years old and have received an honorable discharge. There are income and asset limitations, but the Veterans Administration will use the costs of living in the assisted living community to offset income for purposes of determining eligibility.

Veterans and their surviving spouses will need various documents to complete the application process, including their DD 214 Military Discharge Papers, Social Security number, date of birth, marriage license if applying for a veteran’s spouse and death certificate if the veteran is deceased, list of assets, list of income, list of medical expenses and contact information for a treating physician. The way to start the application process is by contacting the Office of Veterans Affairs in the county where the veteran lives.

I am proud to live in a country that respects and cares for the men and women who have served their nation. Please say thank you to the veterans you know and the veterans you meet, even if their years of serving occurred a few decades ago. If many of us make this a new habit, then every day can be Veterans Day.

(Thank you to the Polk County Veterans Commission, who provided information for this article.)

Information provided by Carol Olson, community relations coordinator, Courtyard Estates at Hawthorne Crossing in Bondurant and at Cedar Point in Pleasant Hill.

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