How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Louisiana
Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Louisiana 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 Louisiana 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 relating to this benefit is one that takes several months from start to finish. Once veterans are approved, the funds are paid out retroactively based on the initial start of the application process. Additionally, Louisiana has plenty of resources that veterans can access if they need assistance with the process. The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) provides vets with a vast array of services to lend them a helping hand, including assisted living homes to claims representation. Louisiana also works in concert with parish service officers (PSOs) in each county to provide further aid with benefits, referrals, healthcare options, and other key forms of advocacy. In order to be connected to the PSO nearest you, visit www.vetaffairs.la.gov and click the benefits link located in the Programs tab.
What is assisted living like?
There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Baton Rouge 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 Louisiana?
According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Louisiana is $37,860 per year, which is far below the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,155 and a daily cost of $104. 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 $34,892 for homemaker services and $36,608 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Louisiana’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $58,400 for a semi-private room and $61,663 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 Louisiana
The LDVA hosts a wide range of special programs built to provide support and service to the state’s veterans, including housing services, e-mail updates on local events and services, support programs, and more. Louisiana is also home to several military-themed points of interest throughout the state. These tourist-friendly venues can make a great individual excursion, a terrific assisted living field trip, or a great destination to check out with the family when they come to town. Many of these destinations also welcome veterans as volunteers, where they can share stories and insights to visitors, especially younger patrons.
The Louisiana Military Museum is home to artillery, vehicles, aircraft, and other artifacts that document practically every conflict the country has ever experienced, with a special emphasis on 20th century conflicts. The Chennault Aviation & Military Museum also share the story of the country’s military past with an emphasis on aviation, which includes special aircraft restoration projects.