How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Arkansas
Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Arkansas 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 Arkansas 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 dressing, bathing, eating, 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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While the application process for the A&A benefit could take several months to complete, it should be noted that applicants that get approved will receive retroactive benefits that track back to the initial application date. Furthermore, if you need assistance with getting the ball rolling on the process, there are plenty of sources that could help you out. Arkansas Veterans Affairs offers the state’s vets a wealth of services including assisted living homes, legal representation, assistance with VA claims, and much more. The organization also works with a full roster of County Veterans Service Officers (CVSOs) that can help vets and their families with benefits, referrals, and advocacy. To find the CVSO nearest you, visit the County VSOs page at www.veterans.arkansas.gov.
What is assisted living like?
There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Little Rock 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 Arkansas?
According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Arkansas is $37,590 per year, which is far below the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,133 and a daily cost of $103. 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 $41,184 for homemaker services and home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Arkansas’ nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $58,856 for a semi-private room and $70,343 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 Arkansas
Arkansas Veterans Affair operates numerous programs that lend support and service to the state’s veterans. These can include housing services, e-mail updates on local events, and special support programs. Additionally, Arkansas is home to a wide array of tourist attractions that specialize in telling various tales tied to the American military. These attractions are ideal places to visit on a day out, an assisted living field trip, or for those times when the family comes into town. Many of these places also welcome veterans as volunteers, which could give vets the opportunity to share their insights and stories with visitors of all ages.
The most popular of these landmarks is the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The museum, which is located in the birthplace of legendary General Douglas MacArthur in Little Rock, is dedicated to shining the spotlight on the men and women from Arkansas who helped serve the country greatly. Guests can expect to see exhibits filled with weapons, photographs, uniforms, documents, and other key artifacts.
Over in Fayetteville stands the Arkansas Air and Military Museum. This sprawling museum is home to various vintage aircraft, including several planes that pre-date World War II. Expect to also see various military artifacts that stretch back to a time before man-made flight existed, such as materials traced back to the Civil War.
There are also dozens of Civil War-related points of interest scattered throughout the state. These touchstones range from battlefields and forts to plantations and historic homes.