Thank you for your service

My dad, my uncles, my brother, and so many more family members, dear friends and their family members served our country with courage and honor in the United States Armed Forces. Their sacrifices were many – physical, emotional, financial – and during their years of service lives were touched and changed with a permanence that should never go unnoticed.

Recently in my geriatric care management internship I was honored to work with my preceptor to help a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer and his family. The retired officer, in his 80s, suffered a stroke a few months ago. He is back home but sadly, has been diagnosed with mild dementia. His wife is caring for him and also for her very elderly mother. The care giving demands on her are heavy. Their daughter has requested information and ideas on ways to support her mom while assuring that her father continues to live safely and comfortably at home. Finances are of concern.

This family’s needs resonated with me because two years ago I was in a similar situation as a niece trying to find ways to support my aunt and uncle. My aunt became critically ill and my uncle, suffering from moderate dementia, needed around the clock care in their home. My husband, several cousins and I along with a team of healthcare workers stayed with my uncle, a scary time for all. Thankfully, after a couple of weeks my aunt was released from the hospital with instructions to recuperate at home.

My uncle served in the Navy during WWII, a veteran from the Greatest Generation. What a blessing that my aunt reached out to the Veteran’s Administration and they responded to her and my uncle’s needs with multiple resources. Adult day care at a state of the art facility plus daily round-trip transportation provided the respite my aunt desperately needed. Support came in many forms -home modifications (grab bars installed in the bathroom is one example), healthcare supplies, prescription assistance, and an amazing social worker who supported my aunt as well as my uncle.

I was pleased to be able to research and share information about VA resources with the retired officer’s family – a way of honoring my uncle, now deceased. I hope that the VA and this family will find the right combination of services to meet their needs. I am proud that the VA is offering support and assistance to our veterans – a small token to thank them for their selfless service.

Here is the link to the VA health benefits application process:
From the site:

Why apply for VA health benefits?

  1. There is no cost to apply.
  2. Enroll once – comprehensive health care services will be available when and where you need them.
  3. Remain enrolled, even if you don’t use VA for your health care.
  4. Enrollment in the VA health care system provides “creditable coverage” required by some health care programs, including Medicare Part D, and states requiring all individuals to have health coverage.
  5. If you are not eligible to enroll at this time, VA will save your application and contact you if eligibility criteria change.
In my local NC community this specific program supported my aunt and uncle and may be of benefit to others: The VA Caring for Older Adults and Caregivers at Home (COACH) Program.

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