How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Tennessee

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

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Tennessee is $45,360 per year, which is significantly less than the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,780 and a daily cost of $124. 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 $41,184 for homemaker services and home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Tennessee’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $69,350 for a semi-private room and $75,179 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 Tennessee

There are plenty of things to do in Tennessee. The majestic Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee offer stunning fall colors, rafting, and trails to explore. These are but a few of the reasons why The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in the country. Tennessee veterans can get a discount on camping spaces and other park services.

Disabled veterans who still drive can get special parking permits and reduced vehicle taxes. The Department of Fish and Wildlife offers discounted hunting and fishing licenses to senior veterans. Veterans service officers can help veterans find benefits that they qualify for. There are so many programs out there that it can be hard for a senior veteran to find the information they need.

Tennessee has a thriving bluegrass and country music scene. Murfreesboro, Knoxville, and Humboldt all have many opportunities to enjoy world-class musicians. If veterans enjoy playing music themselves, there are many groups they can join so they can make music with others. A veterans service officer or staff at a care facility can help veterans make these connections within the community.