In-Home Help for Veterans: Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2018

Last Updated: October 16, 2018

As you, a parent or senior loved one age, you undoubtedly begin to look to the future and contemplate how you hope your years will unfold. Even if a senior is in good mental and physical health now, it’s important to have discussions about future living conditions, whether that means finding a quality senior living community, a skilled nursing facility or resources for aging in place in one’s own home.In-Home Help for Veterans: Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care

For veterans, there are numerous care options for when one reaches the point of needing assistance, depending on the amount of help needed. For veterans choosing to age in place in their own homes, a special program by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can help facilitate a trained caregiver coming to the veteran’s home and assisting as needed, with as much frequency as needed. This same program can actually help veterans of any age who need assistance, either regularly or occasionally, in their own home due to disabilities. Read more about the "Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care Program."

Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care for Veterans

The "Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care Program" is a program is for veterans to help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, fixing meals or taking medicines.

This program is also an option for veterans who are isolated or whose caregiver is experiencing burden, cannot physically perform all the needed tasks or needs an occasional respite.

Homemaker Home Health Aides work for approved local organizations that have a contract with the VA. A registered nurse visits the home for an initial assessment, then works with a trained aide so that the veteran can receive the appropriate help with activities of daily living such as bathing, feeding and using the restroom. The aides can also assist with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) that are not necessary for fundamental functioning, but let an individual live independently, such as housework, paying bills, preparing meals or using the phone.

Since Homemaker Home Health Aide services are part of the Standard Medical Benefits Package, all enrolled veterans are eligible if they meet the clinical need for the service. A copay for Homemaker and Home Health Aide services may be charged based on the veteran’s VA service-connected disability status. Homemaker Home Health Aide services can be used in combination with other Home and Community-Based Services.

The first step is checking your eligibility for a Homemaker Home Health Aide is to contact your nearest VA facility and ask to be connected to a social worker.

A physician and other primary care providers can also help answer questions that outline how much and what type of assistance may be needed, such as:

  • How much assistance do I need for my ADLs or IADLs?
  • How much can I afford to pay for care each month?
  • How much independence and privacy do I want?
  • What are my caregiver's needs?
  • What sort of social interactions are important to me?

To help veterans and their families effectively discuss difficult topics such as long-term care, the VA recommends the Shared Decision Making (SDM) approach, a collaborative, patient-directed process that helps veterans – together with their family caregivers and a healthcare team – set goals and priorities and make choices that meet patient needs while honoring patient values and preferences. The VA offers free downloadable tools such as the "Caregiver Self-Assessment Worksheet" and the "Shared Decision Making Worksheet" to aid in these discussions.

As far as help with paying for home care, the VA also offer the Aid and Attendance pension benefit. The A&A benefit helps veterans and spouses pay for costs of senior care, like home care or assisted living.

VeteranAid.org offers a free eligibility calculator for Aid and Attendance to help determine whether or not you may be eligible for the benefit as well as complete instructions on how to apply for Aid and Attendance.

Written by Megan Hammons

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