How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Oklahoma

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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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What is assisted living like?

There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Tulsa 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 Oklahoma?

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Oklahoma is $33,630 per year, which is significantly less than the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $2,803 and a daily cost of $92. Precise costs will vary based on the city and the region that the facility is located in, but as a whole, the average cost is comparable to the state’s annual home health care costs, which checks out at $45,760 for homemaker services and $47,705 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Oklahoma’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $52,925 for a semi-private room and $60,225 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 Oklahoma

Oklahoma veterans are eligible for free standard hunting and fishing licenses if their disability rating is 60% or more. Some special stamps are not included but can be added at a discount.
Veterans qualify for a lifetime hunting and fishing license for a fee of $25 if the veteran is 100% disabled. Other veterans may purchase lifetime licenses for $200.

Oklahoma veterans who are considered 100% disabled are exempt from paying sales or property taxes. They also receive a special exemption for taxes on retirement income. All Oklahoma veterans receive free admission to any state-run park. Veterans just need to show ID and a copy of their honorable discharge to have the fee waived.

Norman, Oklahoma is home to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History while Claremore has the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Norman is a good place to be a football fan because it hosts the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum is a fun place to go and experience some nostalgia in Clinton. Vintage cars and a great gift shop make this an entertaining place to explore with family. The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is near Sulphur and offers picnic areas, campsites, trails and more. Be sure to explore the Chickasaw Cultural Center and learn about history of the area. Veteran's Lake is a beautiful body of water that is part of the Chickasaw National Park. It has a paved walking trail and gazebos along its shore so that all types of people can enjoy the area.