Long-term care needs of veterans is a long-term issue. Older veterans and their families will need access to long-term care, home and community based services, prosthetics, physical and mental health care, expanded medical transportation and pharmaceuticals as this trend continues to increase over the next 40 years.
Aging Veteran Statistics
VA Population Profile: Vietnam War Veterans
In July 2017, the federal VA released its profile of Vietnam veterans, which analyzed age, gender, race, economic, household and other considerations and compared these data to the civilian population.
There are estimated 6.4 million Vietnam veterans in the United States. Ages range from 55 to 97 (born between 1918 and 1950). The median age is 68.
Vietnam veterans are overwhelmingly male (97 percent), while women form the majority of the non-veteran population (64 percent).
Relative to the non-veteran population, more Vietnam veterans are married (69.4 percent compared to 57 percent), and fewer are widowed (6.6 percent compared to 16.7).
A third of Vietnam veterans are more than 70 percent disabled, though their disabilities are not all necessarily service-connected.
Vietnam veterans are slightly less likely to be living in poverty than the non-veteran population. They are also much less likely to use food stamps.
Almost 80 percent of Vietnam veterans receive health care from the federal VA, and over half receive disability compensation.
Read the report here.
Long Term Care
In DC, a conservator is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and property of someone who is not able to do so alone. A conservator can be an individual, a public official or an institution.
When is a conservator needed?
When an individual has a substantial amount of income, assets or property and is unable to manage his or her finances well enough to provide adequate care themselves, a conservator may be needed. This may be due to mental illness or deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs or controlled substances, disappearance or confinement, chronic intoxication, or because the individual is a minor.
Other reasons a conservator may be needed is if an individual is using income and assets to his or her own detriment or if they are being taken advantage of financially by another person.
What does a conservator do?
A conservator gains possession of all income and assets and establishes a personal budget and pays for care, personal needs, dependent support, property maintenance, etc., according to that budget. A conservator applies for all benefits for which the protected person may be eligible and invests or otherwise conserves unused funds.
An accounting of financial activities is submitted to the court, USDVA, protected persons and others as required by law.
How much control does the conservator have over the protected person’s life?
A conservator assumes all responsibility for the financial affairs of the protected person's estate. They are not directly responsible for the personal affairs of the person, although the income and assets available may limit the individual’s lifestyle.
Starting a conservatorship
A petition asking for the appointment of a conservator may be submitted to a court by anyone interested in the estate, affairs or welfare of the person. This includes parents, guardian, custodians or any person who would be adversely affected by lack of effective management of the property or affairs. The court appoints a conservator and the order remains in effect until the person’s condition improves, majority is reached or until death.
VA Health Care for Aging Veterans
The health care needs of the aging veteran population are unique and complex. The federal VA health care system has dedicated resources to serve the needs of this growing population of veterans. These services can be provided in your home, at a VA medical facility or in your community, depending on your situation and needs.
For more information: Federal VA: Geriatrics and Extended Care
Aid and Attendance (A&A)
Veterans and survivors who qualify for a federal VA pension due to financial circumstances may be eligible for additional compensation if you require the aid and attendance of another person. This tax-free supplement to the monthly pension is commonly called A&A.
You or your deceased spouse must meet the federal VA’s service, age, disability and income requirements for Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension to be eligible for A&A.
Since the A&A provision increases the income allowance, you may be eligible for a supplemented pension even if your income is too high for a basic pension. However, you must still meet the applicable service and age or disability requirements.
For more information: Federal VA: Aid & Attendance and Housebound
Veterans and survivors who qualify for a federal VA pension due to financial circumstances may be eligible for additional compensation if you are housebound, meaning confined to your home because of permanent disability.
You or your deceased spouse must meet the federal VA’s service, age, disability and income requirements for veterans pension or survivors pension to be eligible for this additional tax-free monthly compensation.
Since the housebound provision increases the income allowance, you may be eligible for a supplemented pension even if your income is too high for a basic pension. However, you must still meet the applicable service and age or disability requirements.
Those who qualify for a pension may also be eligible for additional compensation due to needing the aid and attendance (A&A) of another person, which is based on different criteria. However, you cannot receive both A&A and Housebound benefits at the same time.
How to apply
The federal VA requires you to submit evidence in support of your request for an increased monthly pension, preferably a report from your attending physician validating the need for housebound care.
Find Services within the DC Office of Aging
DCOA provides a map so you can find services and locations for DCOA-designated Lead Agencies. These Lead Agencies plan and deliver direct services to the District's elderly residents and their caregivers. You can find locations for the following services on their website.
For more information: https://dcoa.dc.gov/service/find-services
Senior Service Network
The Office on Aging is the District of Columbia's Agency on Aging that oversees direct services to persons 60 and older through a Senior Service Network. Within the Senior Service Network are eight community-based agencies, funded by the Office on Aging, to provide health, education and social services. In order to use DCOA'S services, seniors are required to become registered participants through the Senior Service Network Lead Agency in their Ward.
For more information: https://dcoa.dc.gov/service/our-senior-service-network
Adult Educational Programs
Adult educational programs provide opportunities for seniors to acquire knowledge, skills and general competence that will enable them to participate in the social, political, and intellectual life of the community. These programs encourage lifelong learning. There is no fee for service. Donations are encouraged.
For more information: https://dcoa.dc.gov/service/adult-educational-programs
Find an Elder Care Facility
The Elder Care Locator is a public service of the US Administration on Aging. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging administers the program in cooperation with the National Association of State Units on Aging. A caller can use the Elder Care Locator toll-free number to identify information and referral services provided by State and Area Agencies on Aging and access more than 4,800 state and local Information and Referral/Assistance (I&RA) service providers identified by ZIP code throughout the country. The database also contains telephone numbers for Alzheimer's hotlines, adult day care and respite services, nursing home ombudsman assistance, consumer fraud, in-home care complaints, legal services, elder abuse/protective services, Medicaid/Medigap information, tax assistance and transportation.
For more information: https://dcoa.dc.gov/service/find-elder-care-facility
DC’s LGBTQ Resources and Information for Seniors
The PALS Program
People Advocating for LGBT Seniors (PALS) is a FREE program that connects compassionate, trained volunteer visitors with LGBT elders, 55 and older, who are living at home or in assisted living and nursing facilities. This program provides companionship and help, when needed, to access a variety of community services and resources. To participate as a client or to learn more about receiving free PALS services: Call Jacquetta Brooks, MSW, LGSW at 202.797.3570 and ask about “PALS” or e-mail: [email protected]
Washington DC LBGT Aging Coalition
Advocacy group formed to address the issues of the older LGBT population in Washington, DC.
Contact: Ron Swanda, (202) 340-7708