Every veteran should be taken care of as they age, and there are some assisted living communities who are solely for veterans. There is a growing need to provide safe, healthy retirement communities for aging veterans, and families look to programs they already know and understand. Although families do have several options in this regard, assisted living is typically the most cost effective choice available. The good news is that Fort Worth has several options for veteran assisted living, so families know their loved ones will receive the best care possible.

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The cost of assisted living in Fort Worth

Assisted living in Fort Worth checks in just above the national average. The 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey lists the average annual cost to be $46,722, which is a bit higher than the U.S. average of $43,200. On a per month basis, this annual figure breaks down to $3,894 per month. If you look at things from a daily rate, the cost hovers around $128 per day.

Assisted living is actually a bit higher than the average range for home health care in Fort Worth, which ranges from $43,472 per year for homemaker services and home health aide services. Assisted living is substantially less expensive on average than nursing home care in Fort Worth; the average cost for semi-private nursing home care in Fort Worth is $56,940 per year, and the average cost for a private room is $78,475 per year.

For qualified veterans and their spouses, further assisted living savings may be obtainable via the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit, which can otherwise be known as the A&A Pension Benefit. This special benefit can provide a veteran up to $1,788 per month, a surviving spouse up to $1,149 per month, or a couple up to $2,120 per month. Furthermore, a veteran with a sick spouse that applies for the program is eligible to receive up to $1,406 per month. The process to qualify for the A&A Pension Benefit is relatively simple.

Eligible veterans or surviving spouses of eligible veterans must show the need for help with activities for daily living, otherwise known as ADLs. Some of these activities include bathing, cooking, dressing, medication management, leaving the house for errands and appointments, and grooming. With that being said, seniors do not need to demonstrate that they need help for all of these activities. Aid and Attendance funds can assist in paying for ADL services in numerous places, such as an assisted living community, skilled nursing home, or within the confines of the senior’s own home. For those that are interested, it should be noted that the application process could take several months from beginning to end, but retroactive payments are sent upon the program’s approval.

What can you expect?

Veterans and their families will quickly discover that each assisted living community is completely different. They all have their own culture and personality, and some cater to a specific needs while others don't. Fort Worth has a blend of more affluent individuals and those who require more financial assistance, so there is a good mix of luxury communities as well as standard communities. Regardless, assisted living communities develop personalized care plans for each resident, so veterans receive activities, foods, and medications that suit their preferences and needs. In addition to the basics, assisted living communities provide additional service offerings, although these do come at an additional cost, as well.

What’s included in assisted living?

The most common services include:

  • A private studio or one-bedroom apartment.
  • Emergency call systems in each room so that help can be summoned at any time.
  • 24-hour security, including on-call nursing assistance.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services.
  • Utilities such as electric, water, and natural gas.
  • Daily meals and snacks – all typically served restaurant style in the main dining area.
  • Medication management, including refill reminders.
  • Wellness and fitness programs based on individual likes and preferences.
  • Social and recreational activities.
  • Transportation to and from grocery stores, spas and salons, and retail shops.
  • Religious and spiritual services.

What may be available for an extra fee?

Some communities may also offer additional on-site perks that residents can pay extra to utilize. Typically, these perks can include private transportation, personal laundry service, beauty salon services, and massage sessions.

The continuum-of-care option

Additionally, many seniors look for an assisted living service known as a continuum of care, which essentially describes a facility that can provide accommodation for residents regardless of what their specific need may be. Residents in these particular communities typically don’t have to deal with as many big moves should their health or daily needs shift, and they will also remain in a familiar setting even if their health dictates that they have to move to a different building within the facility’s complex. Prices on continuum of care do fluctuate based on the actual service that is needed.

Resources, volunteer opportunities and points of interest for veterans

Fort Worth has a few resources available to veterans and their families. Like most states, the primary resource is going to be the Department of Veterans Affairs. This organization provides assistance to veterans regarding their benefits, housing, employment, and even the rights and protections of whistleblowers. Another great resource from veterans is the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition. Although its primary focus is on helping homeless vets find affordable housing, it's still a resource for veterans who need help in other areas, as well.

There are plenty of volunteer options in Fort Worth, and not just in terms of working with other vets. Of course, the VA can always use volunteers, but there are options for those with varied interests. A few of these include the botanic gardens, the library, the zoo, and the food bank. Fort Worth is a large city, so there are many places for veterans to volunteer and stay involved in the community.

One of the most popular points of interest for veterans, especially those who flew in WWI and WWII, is the Vintage Flying Museum and Forth Worth Aviation Museum. It houses a WWII-era DC3, and it also has a B-29 Superfortress.

In addition to the aviation options, there is also the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, which features several hands-on exhibits that allow guests to learn about different cultures, animals, and historical events. It doesn't delve into a lot of military related history, but it does have a lot of neat options that veterans and their families will love.