How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Pennsylvania

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Philadelphia 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 Pennsylvania?

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Pennsylvania is $43,200 per year, which is significantly less than the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,600 and a daily cost of $118. 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 $49,192 for homemaker services and $49,306 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Pennsylvania’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $108,847 for a semi-private room and $116,800 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 Pennsylvania

The Delaware Valley Veterans Home is located in Philadelphia so it is a good choice for those that want to be close to the opportunities and amenities of a large city. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is ranked by TripAdvisor as the #1 thing to do in Philadelphia. The museum contains a plethora of exhibits and artwork in a wide range of disciplines and mediums.

Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia is a beautiful and scenic place to unwind on a beautiful day. The Gino J Merli Veterans Center is located in Scranton. While visiting Scranton be sure to take a stroll along the Scranton Lake Walking Path. Even those in wheelchairs can navigate the trail. Gazebos around the lake shore offer a shady retreat throughout your visit there. Train enthusiasts will love that Scranton is the location of the Steamtown National Historic Site.

Nay Aug State Park in Scranton offers scenery that you cannot see anywhere else. Gorgeous gazebos and walking paths allow you to literally walk through the higher reaches of trees. This is a fantastic place to sit and reflect with someone you care about, draw, or pack a picnic lunch and just enjoy a day in the forest.

Pennsylvania veterans may be eligible for many forms of aid. Female and minority veterans may be able to receive additional support and counselling services, grants, and more. Reduced fees for hunting and fishing permits, free entry at state parks, and tax exemptions are available to veterans.