How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Hawaii
Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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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The application process to receive Aid and Attendance benefits is long; it could take several months from beginning to end. However, those that get approved will receive retroactive benefits that stretch back to the original application date. If you are interested in applying for this aid, but you need help with the overall process, don’t fret: Hawaii has a wide range of resources that can provide you with the help you’re looking for. Hawaii’s Office of Veterans Services provides the state’s vets with a full slate of services, including assisted living facilities, legal aid, benefit and healthcare options, referrals, and other forms of general advocacy. To get connected, visit www.dod.hawaii.gov/ovs.
What is assisted living like?
There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Honolulu 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 Hawaii?
According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Hawaii is $49,500 per year, which is above the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $4,125 and a daily cost of $136. 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 $54,912 for homemaker services and $57,772 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Hawaii’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $129,575 for a semi-private room and $141,310 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 Hawaii
Hawaii’s Office of Veterans Services runs a vast array of programs that are designed to serve and support the state’s veterans. These services include support programs, e-mail programs to keep people informed regarding local services and events, veteran housing, and more. Plus, Hawaii is home to arguably the most intriguing military points of interest in the country, and these venues make for intriguing activities for family visits, an assisted living field trip, or simply a day excursion. Several of these particular points of interest offer veterans the opportunity to volunteer, giving them a place to share stories and expertise with visitors of all ages.
The most famous military-themed tourist attraction is Pearl Harbor, the infamous attack site that propelled the United States into World War II. The area is highlighted by the presence of the USS Arizona Memorial, which commemorates the final resting place of over 1,100 sailors and Marines who lost their lives during the battle. Guests here can also visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial, which is where World War II ended with the surrender of Japanese forces. Other expressions of military history can be found at the Hawaii Army Museum in Waikiki, where exhibits of military history stretching back to ancient Hawaii are on display.