How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Colorado
Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Colorado 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 Colorado 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 A&A benefits can be a long one - it can take several months to complete - applicants that get approved will receive retroactive benefits that trace back to the original application date. Colorado has plenty of resources that can help you with this process. The Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs offers the state’s vets a wide slate of services that include assisted living homes, legal aid, assistance with VA claims, and much more. The organization also works in tandem with the state’s County Veterans Service Offices to help vets and their families with various benefits, referrals, and advocacy. In order to be connected to the nearest CVSO near you, visit the County Veterans Services Offices directory page at www.vets.dmva.state.co.us.
What is assisted living like?
There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Denver 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 Colorado?
According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Colorado is $48,750 per year, which is above the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $4,063 and a daily cost of $134. 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 $51,480 for homemaker services and $54,912 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Colorado’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $83,220 for a semi-private room and $97,546 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 Colorado
The Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs operate a host of programs that provide service and support to the state’s veterans. These include housing services, e-mail updates on local services and events, and specialized support programs. Colorado also boasts a rich military history, and this can be explored through various tourist attractions scattered throughout the state. These attractions make for ideal visits for seniors on an assisted living field trip, on a family visit, or just a day out on their own. Several of these spots also welcome veterans to serve on a volunteer basis, which in turn allows them to share their knowledge and stories with younger generations.
The most prominent of these military destinations is the campus of the United States Air Force, located in Colorado Springs. The Peterson Air Force Base also makes for an alluring attraction, as it is home to the Peterson Air and Space Museum. The museum itself is a space of intriguing Cold War history, as it was once the Visitor Center for NORAD - the North American Aerospace Defense command. Today, guests can take a look at various aircraft and artifacts tied to the preservation and protection of the country.