How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Vermont

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

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Vermont is $58,320 per year, which is significantly more than the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $4,860 and a daily cost of $160. 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 $50,336 for homemaker services and $53,768 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Vermont’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $103,295 for a semi-private room and $106,763 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 Vermont

The Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs maintains a nursing care facility in Bennington. Staff can be reached at 1-802-447-6523. The facility has an excellent rehabilitative care program. A certified dementia unit means that those suffering from Alzheimer's have access to some of the best care available in the country. Skilled nursing care and advanced medical services are available as well.

The Bennington Museum offers a look back into Vermont's colorful past. Oldcastle Theater Company offers plays and performances that span many genres. The Bennington Art Guild Gallery has many remarkable pieces that you will want to take home with you. The Molly Stark Trail is a beautiful drive with many scenic stops along the way. This is a great day trip to plan for when fall colors are at their peak. You get to see the fabulous Green Mountains, historic old villages, and more along the way.

Bennington has the distinction of being home to many historic bridges such as the Silk Road Bridge. Many people visit these bridges for a good photo opportunity. Those that appreciate fine craftsmanship will be impressed with how the bridges are put together. The Bennington Center For The Arts features crafts and artisan works from Vermont artists. Plan on spending some time here because there is a lot to see. The Anatomy of A Covered Bridge Exhibit shows just how complicated it can be to construct a bridge out of wood.