Senior veterans who can no longer live independently may end up moving from their home to an assisted living facility (ALF). There are no VA assisted living facilities, but the Veterans Administration does provide veterans and their spouses with a special benefit to help cover facility costs.
More About Assisted Living
Assisted living facilities are long-term care communities that provide accommodations, meals, help with daily living activities like mobility, bathing and dressing, and many other services.
ALFs can vary in size from a small number of residents and staff to campuses with hundreds of residents and dozens of employees.
Before someone is admitted to an ALF, their health care needs will be assessed. Medical assessments are used to determine if the facility can provide a potential resident with the appropriate level of care.
Generally, the person must be able to transfer (move from one place to another) with the assistance of a single staff person. Residents can use mobility devices like canes and rollators. A resident can also have occasional incontinence.
An ALF will generally have single and shared rooms for residents. Other options can include one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Residents will be able to choose the size of the room and its layout. An apartment will usually have its own kitchen.
Also, although some bedrooms will have their own bathroom, a bathroom may also be shared by residents occupying different bedrooms. Generally, there is a maximum of four residents per bathroom.
Couples can move into an assisted living facility together, even if only one of them needs personal care.
ALF services typically include 24-hour supervision and security, housekeeping, meals, assistance with daily living activities, recreational and social programs, medication management and transportation for residents who need to visit a doctor or dentist.
ALFs will also provide specialized assistance to individuals with certain types of health care needs such as:
- Developmental disabilities
Sometimes dementia and Alzheimer residents are cared for in an entirely separate memory care unit. These are usually secure areas with door alarms, door locks and other types of security measures.
The purpose of an ALF is to provide a safe and comfortable living environment for seniors who can no longer live alone, but do not need round-the-clock medical or nursing care.
The number of staff at an assisted living facility is usually based on its size and the services it provides. Some staff will assist residents with personal care like bathing and dressing, while others will prepare meals and keep the facility neat and clean.
Larger facilities will often have several administrative staff responsible for daily operations. They may even employ registered nurses (RN) and certified nursing assistants (CNA).
An ALF is not legally required to have licensed medical professionals on-site unless the facility provides specialized care. Sometimes a facility will contract with an outside agency to provide whatever additional care is needed.
Cost of an Assisted Living Facility
There are over 28,000 residential and assisted living communities nationwide. More than half are chains vs. facilities that are independently owned and operated.
An ALF can cost several thousands of dollars a month depending on its location and the services it provides. New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Delaware have the highest priced facilities in the country, with an average cost of $6,500 per month. The median cost of an ALF is around $4,000 a month.
Most seniors are unprepared for the expense of an assisted living facility. In many cases, some type of financial assistance will be needed to cover the cost.
VA Aid & Attendance Benefit for Assisted Living
The VA provides a special benefit called Aid & Attendance for qualified veterans, spouses and surviving spouses who need help paying for an ALF.
Benefit requirements include the veteran having served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an eligible period of war.
Wartime periods include:
World War II: December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946, If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service up to July 26, 1947, is also considered World War II service.
Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955.
Vietnam Era: For veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam or on a ship off the coast of Vietnam – February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. For veterans who served anywhere in the world during the Vietnam era – August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.
Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.
The veteran must have also received an honorable (or anything other than dishonorable) discharge, be at least 65 years of age (or any age and totally disabled) and need help with some of the activities of daily living, like mobility (transferring), bathing, dressing, toileting and eating.
A surviving spouse can also qualify for the benefit if he or she was married to the veteran when they passed and never re-married. Surviving spouses can apply for the benefit at any age.
Veterans and spouses must also meet various income and asset criteria. If you would like to find out more about the VA’s financial requirements for Aid and Attendance, contact one of our Benefit Consultants today at 1-877-427-8065
Aid & Attendance benefit amounts can range from $1,228 per month for a surviving spouse to $3,032 per month for two married veterans. This is a reimbursement benefit for long-term care costs paid by the Department of the Treasury. It is tax-free and does not need to be paid back.
When a veteran or spouse does not have enough financial resources to qualify for the benefit, Aid and Attendance can help them remain private pay and in control of the quality of their care. It is important to understand how the benefit process works before filing a claim. Call us today at 877-427-8065 to learn more about Aid and Attendance and how to get a claim approved.