Resources for Elderly Veterans and Their Families

Resources for Elderly Veterans and Their Families

For many across the United States, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer. But even as we enjoy gathering with family and friends, we also remember the reason we’re having that respite in the first place: because of the men and women who died in service to our country, giving the ultimate sacrifice so that we could enjoy the freedoms we cherish so much.

The United States Military reports that over 16 million people served in World War II, and over 400,000 didn’t make it home. Other wars and conflicts showed massive casualties as well. Thankfully, as technology has advanced and our armed forces have become better protected, the casualties have dropped dramatically.[1] That’s a big sigh of relief for military families everywhere.

Today, the U.S. Census reports that the United States is home to about 16.5 million veterans. And nearly half of all veterans are seniors aged 65 and older.[2]

There is a wealth of resources available to veterans across the United States. Some of them are designated for those who are elderly, while others are available to all who served, no matter the age. A person who has served their country well now deserves to be protected at all costs. This includes taking good care of them not only when they are out and about in public, but when they are at home going about their usual routines. An emergency button alarm can help ensure that if they fall down or otherwise suffer an accident or medical crisis, they have the means to reach out for help right away. There’s no doubt that an alert system for elderly adults can work wonders for not only peace of mind, but true life-saving action in the timeliest manner possible.

Resources for Veterans and Their Families

These resources can help our elderly veterans and those who love them to have a better quality of life. You might be familiar with some of these already; others might be new to you. Explore them all!

·        America’s Gold Star Families. This is at the top of the list for a reason. This organization supports those who love and honor their servicemen and servicewomen who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This Memorial Day, as we honor our veterans and those who have fallen, it’s important to remember those who are left behind to grieve. Look into this organization for ways that you can help Gold Star Families in your community.

·        The Department of Veterans Affairs. When seeking help for a veteran, always start with the VA. The benefits are vast for those who served and the families who support them. Here you can find information on disability compensation, ongoing healthcare, pensions, educational assistance, home loans, and much more. You can go to the website or you can choose to visit your local VA office to speak to someone in person.

·        The Veterans Health Administration. This focuses on healthcare services of all kinds. The VHA operates the VA medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. You can find medical treatment, mental health support, and long-term care through the VHA. Your local VA medical center can provide you with more details.

·        The Veterans Benefits Administration. This is helpful for veterans but you might find that it’s even better for their dependents. Disability compensation, survivor benefits, and pensions are just a few services that the VBA can assist you with.

·        Veteran Service Organizations. These organizations, often known as VSOs, include places like the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). You have likely seen these organizations in your local area. Not only do they provide direct support and advocacy for veterans, they also provide a gateway to other resources. Don’t hesitate to drop in at your local chapter!

·        Senior Veterans Service Alliance. This private organization provides a wealth of information on home modifications and the grants to obtain them. These grants are specifically for the disabled, elderly, and those who have suffered injuries during their service.

·        State and County Veteran Service Offices. Looking for resources that are very specific to your area? These offices can help you find them. They can help with creating healthcare enrollment and claims, finding an attorney to draft a will or advance directive, assist with signing up for SNAP or other benefits, and point you to other local resources that can make life easier.

·        Military OneSource. Financial counseling, educational assistance, legal help, and advice on healthcare are all part of this organization. The comprehensive website is filled with information but you can also call to speak to a live person who can guide you through many different resources until you find what you need.

·        AARP Veterans Resources. The popular AARP website offers a section dedicated to veterans. These resources for the elderly are specifically targeted to those who have served, providing them with information on not only general benefits (those available to the entire elderly population) as well as those designed for veterans.

·        The Social Security Administration. This site is for everyone but there is a section specifically addressing questions veterans may have about benefits and advantages of social security. This is especially helpful when looking into disability benefits or survivor benefits. You can find out more not only via the website but also at your local social security office.

·        Non-profit organizations. There are numerous organizations devoted to the betterment of veterans’ lives. Some of these might sound quite familiar, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House Foundation, or Team Rubicon. Some of them are dedicated to veterans of certain wars or conflicts, such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. These organizations provide many types of assistance that go beyond government programs, such as help with housing and employment.

·        Vet Centers. These community-based counseling centers are hosted by the Veteran’s Administration. They offer counseling services that focus on readjustment to living as a civilian, individual and group counseling, marital and family counseling, and so much more. They can also provide referrals to other services that might help a veteran or their loved ones navigate life after military service.

·        Legal Assistance Groups. Veterans can often take advantage of free or low-cost legal services as a thank-you for their service. For instance, Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program is specifically designed to provide free legal representation for veterans appealing disability benefits decisions. Get in touch with your local veterans organizations to find more help with legal issues in your local area.

·        Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). This program, along with the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) and the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) can assist veterans with job placement and skills training. They can also provide career counseling. Though many who take advantage of this might be younger veterans, it benefits the elderly as well by providing career counseling and the option of moving back into the workforce after retirement.

·        Honor Flight Network. This non-profit organization provides free trips for veterans over the age of 65 to visit national memorials in Washington, D.C. The heartfelt mission of this organization is to allow the veterans to enjoy the memorials that their service inspired, as well as pay their respects to those they have lost.

·        Veteran Retirement Communities. Did you know there are whole communities and assisted living facilities specifically for veterans? These supportive environments have the usual amenities expected by the elderly in communities like this, but there is the added bonus of healthcare services, social activities, mental health assistance, and other services that are tailored to veterans. In addition, there is the sense of camaraderie that comes from those with shared experiences living in close proximity to one another.

There are many other organizations that can help veterans, no matter what stage of life they are in. The resources listed here will get you started, but it’s a sure bet that someone at these groups and organizations will have even more leads for places to find what veterans need.

No matter what kind of assistance a veteran needs, making sure they have the best peace of mind possible is always a worthy goal. Why not gift them with a medical alert pendant this Memorial Day? Alert1 Medical Alert Systems offers discounts for veterans. This life-saving senior alert system can be their constant companion, ensuring that they can get help no matter what time of day or night, no matter the reason – they simply press the button and reach out for the assistance they need. That’s an incredibly valuable safety net that allows veterans to relax and live a more secure, independent life.

Thank you to our veterans and to the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for Amercia.