Veterans have not been well treated by the VA during this huge pandemic. The VA gave hydroxychloroquine, debunked as a treatment for COVID_19, to 1300 veterans. The number of COVID-19 deaths in VA facilities has soared to 10,000 to the very veterans who risked their lives and we celebrate on Memorial Day.
In spite of this VA Memorial day travesty, Geriatric care managers can be a huge help to older veterans to get VA benefits. With nearly 10 million veterans in the U.S. who over the age of 65, older vets are usually good candidates for geriatric care management services both now and in the future.
Unfortunately, navigating the services, supports, and benefits available to older veterans can be a challenge for geriatric care managers and clients alike. Services and supports for this population are available at the federal, state, and local level in addition to the service navigation complexity. The configuration of services received by veterans and their families is likely to consist of federal services provided by the Veterans Administration in addition to more localized services for older adults in general like those provided by senior centers, area agencies on aging, etc.
Benefits available to veterans and their families range from federal VA home improvement grants, burial benefits, medical care, respite, housing programs, pension, and even local benefits like business loans and discount programs.
Like most clients served by geriatric care managers, this population will need personalized assistance in meeting their care needs. For this reason, it is important to note that services and supports designed for older adults, in general, are also key resources for veterans.
While the VA is a great resource, don’t overlook the value and expertise offered by local organizations like local healthcare centers, senior centers, and Area Agencies on Aging, among others.
Find the many ways care managers can access hard to find VA services and serve retired vets.
Handbook of Geriatric Care Management 4th edition includes a new chapter that will help you help vets Maximizing the Health and Wells-Being of Older Veterans by Dr. Lenard Kaye, director of the Center for Aging at the University of Maine and Glenn Osbourne, director of the National Veterans Legal Aid Group . As an aging life or geriatric care manager, or senior advocate, learn how to to get an elder veteran the benefits he or she so deserves.
On Memorial Day, while abiding California’s Stay at Home Order, I celebrate my Dad, Harry V. Cress, in this photo, who was shot down in World War II and was in Stalag 17 when I was born. His lifelong struggle with PTSD inspired my respect for the VA GRECC program, who served him so well. But I am left now with disdain for the VA now especially allowing these Vets who gave so much and suffered grievously, like my Dad to die in VA facilities without adequate PPE -especially on Memorial Day- a day set aside to honor these men and women.