How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Maine
Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Maine 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 Maine 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 A&A benefits could take several months to complete. However, when approved applicants receive their benefits, they will do so retroactive to the original application date. And Maine has a wealth of valuable resources that can help veterans navigate this process or any other veteran benefit related process. he Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Service provides the state’s veterans a wide array of services that include assistance with VA claims, assisted living homes, legal representation, and more. The organization also works in tandem with various County Veterans’ Services Offices (CVSOs) to help vets and their families with benefits, referrals, and various forms of advocacy. To find the CVSO nearest you, visit www.maine.gov/dvem/bvs/offices.
What is assisted living like?
There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Portland 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 Maine?
According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Maine is $59,892 per year, which is far above the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $4,991 and a daily cost of $164. 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 $50,336 for homemaker services and $54,340 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Maine’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $100,375 for a semi-private room and $108,223 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 Maine
The Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Service operates a wide array of programs that are built to provide service and support to the state’s veterans. These include e-mail updates on local services and events, housing services, specialized support programs, and more. Maine is also home to several military-themed tourist attractions that can be ideal places to visit for seniors on an assisted living field trip, on a visit with family, or simply a day out on their own. A lot of these spots also welcome veterans to serve on a volunteer basis, which in turn allows them to share their stories and knowledge with younger generations.
The Maine Military Museum’s collection of artifacts, uniforms, and other military-related ephemera stretches from the Revolutionary War up to the Gulf War. It also contains several items that relate to American Prisoners of War. The Civil War can be further explored with a visit to the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, while the Fort McClary State Historic Site gives visitors the opportunity to tour a mid-19th century blockhouse during the summertime.