How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Arizona

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Arizona seniors. For those who served the country bravely, the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Pension program is available to help make this level of improvement a little more attainable. Eligible vets and their surviving spouses can qualify should they need aid in various activities for daily living (also known as ADLs). These tasks could include rudimentary functions like bathing, eating, dressing, transportation for errands and appointments, and medication management, although it should be noted that eligible applicants don’t need to require aid with everything in order to qualify. A&A recipients can also utilize these funds to help pay for costs associated with home care, skilled nursing home care, or assisted living.

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The application process for A&A benefits is not a quick one. It could take several months for the entire process to complete. With that being said, those that do apply and get approved will receive retroactive benefits back to the initial application date. If you are in need of assistance with the application process, Arizona has several resources that you can utilize. The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services offers the state’s vets a full arrangement of services that include things like legal aid, assisted living facilities, help with completing Veterans Administration claims, and more. The organization also works in conjunction with a network of Veterans Benefits Counselors, or VBCs, which can help veterans and their family members with benefits, information, counseling, and advocacy. To find the Veterans Benefits Counselor nearest you, call 1-800-852-VETS (8387).

What is assisted living like?

There is some variance in Arizona assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Phoenix will be ideal for those that still want to be close to metropolitan perks such as restaurants, shops, and cultural activities. On the flip side, those who prefer the quiet nature of suburbia may gravitate toward an assisted living community in a bedroom community, where parks and familiar chain retailers rule the day.

The facilities also have variances based on interests. Some places are run by religious organizations and feature various activities and observances that are in line with the particular faith’s belief system. There are also homes that are wholly dedicated to serving veterans, which may be of interest to vets that want to spend their days enjoying the inimitable spark of camaraderie amongst those that have proudly served their country.

Each assisted living facility is home to various services that are contained within the monthly room and board fee. Basic services typically include key elements for proper senior care-fueled living, such as private living spaces, 24-hour security and nurse access, call buttons in the rooms in case of a sudden emergency, meals, housekeeping, utilities, and laundry. These essential services can be augmented for an extra fee. Extra services that could be added include salon care, massage therapy, and personalized laundry and transportation service. Because these latter services vary from venue to venue, it is always a wise idea to research to see what is included and what is constituted as an add-on perk at every assisted living facility considered. It is also prudent to ask if the facility also offers continuum of care, in which a resident can stay on the campus should their assisted living needs change over time.

What does assisted living cost in Arizona?

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Arizona is $42,000 per year, which is just below the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,500 and a daily cost of $115. Precise costs will vary based on the city and the region that the facility is located in. The state’s annual home health care costs check in at $45,760 for homemaker services and $47,979 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Arizona’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $75,555 for a semi-private room and $93,075 for a private room.

Veterans and their spouses that do qualify for the A&A Pension Benefit can utilize the benefits they receive to help cover the assisted living costs. The benefit can provide upwards of $1,794 per month to a vet, $1,153 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,127 per month to a couple. A veteran that files with a sick spouse can be eligible for as much as $1,410 per month.

Resources and recreation for veterans in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services runs a wide host of programs to provide support and service to the state’s numerous veterans. These services can entail housing services, e-mail notifications regarding local events, specialized support programs, and more. Arizona is also home to several military-centric recreational points of interests; armed service veterans can enjoy these options as part of a day out, an assisted living field trip, or a family visit. What’s more, many of the destinations also feature veteran volunteer programs, which could enable seniors the chance to share stories and their expertise on the subject material with visitors, particularly young children.

Arguably, the state’s most famous military-related point of interest is the Arizona Military Museum, located just northeast of downtown Phoenix. Operated by the Arizona National Guard Historical Society, this museum chronicles Arizona’s role in the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World War II, and more. The Titan Missile Museum near Tucson provides guests with an insight into the Cold War. Guests can visit the preserved, formerly secret Titan II missile site - the only preserved site that is still intact - as well as other forms of technology that the United States used in order to stave off nuclear warfare.