What Care Options are Available for Veterans and Their Spouses with Dementia?

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What Care Options are Available for Veterans and Their Spouses with Dementia?

Through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans that have been diagnosed with dementia could be eligible to receive a number of  benefits and services.

The VA provides several different types of programs for veterans and their families, including pensions, caregiver support services, healthcare coverage, and burial benefits. The requirements for eligibility will ultimately depend on the family, so it’s good to understand which resources are available through the VA, which is the first step towards supporting a Veteran (or spouse) with dementia and planning for their care needs.

The care options available for veterans and their spouses with dementia include the following:

1. VA Health Care

VA Health Care supports veterans from the initial stages of dementia throughout the terminal stage. Unfortunately, medications will not be able to cure the disease, doctors may prescribe what is needed to alleviate the symptoms of the condition. The VA also covers the cost of the drugs.

For Veterans living at home, they may need additional support, especially during the later stages of the disease. For example, the individual living with dementia may hallucinate, wander, become uncharacteristically aggressive, fall, have issues with balance or forget to take their medications. All of these issues can become critically dangerous, but VA Health Care can provide the needed care to keep them safe and healthy.

A range of professionals may provide VA Health Care, including professional home care providers, respite caregivers, homemakers and health aides. Family caregivers may also choose to use the VA Health Care for home care assistance.

2. Respite Care

For family caregivers who need a break, the VA can cover the cost of a respite caregiver. Respite caregivers can handle tasks such as help with eating, bathing, brushing hair, meal preparation, companionship, and more. Family members have the liberty to choose the care schedule and type of care needed.

3. In-Patient Hospital Care

If the veteran were to sustain an injury or become bedridden, the cost of hospital care may also be covered by the VA. Operations, daily care, food, transportation, nursing care and more may be covered for a limited time. Although the details will vary by patient.

4. Outpatient clinical care

For veterans living with dementia requiring care after arriving in a clinic to recover from a recent operation, the VA may also cover the costs. Necessary care tasks can include bandage dressing, personal care assistance, guidance throughout the clinic, companionship and more.

5. Hospice Care

The VA may cover the costs to pay for a nurse or caregiver to be present 24/7, providing medication, bandage dressing, assistance with using the restroom, eating and other personal care tasks. These costs are also among the most expensive, due to the ongoing treatment.

Other types of care options available for veterans and their spouses include:

  • Palliative care
  • Board and care residences, such as community residential care, adult family homes and medical foster homes
  • Nursing home care, such as state veterans homes, contracted community nursing homes and community living centers
  • Adult health care
  • Homemaker/home health care services, such as personal care, companion care and non-medical health care

Depending on the location and programs available, some settings and types of care provide specific dementia care programming and memory care units. Although there are no separate VA eligibility criteria or application processes for individuals living with dementia who are veterans.

To consult with a VA social worker to help determine which programs are available and appropriate for your situation, eligibility requirements, costs, and services, locate a VA Medical Center near you.

VA Veterans Pension

In addition to health care benefits, some veterans may also qualify for additional benefits. The VA pension programs offer qualifying wartime veterans with limited assets and low income with a monthly payment to supplement their income. This is known as the basic Veterans Pension, eligible to receive up to $13,572 each year with no dependents.

Another version, known as the “improved” version, is called the “Aid & Attendance” benefit, which is available for veterans who need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (“ADLs”), including bathing, feeding, and dressing. ADLs are also something that many individuals living with dementia need as their condition worsens over time.

VA programs

The Aid & Attendance Pension plan can pay up to $22,939 each year for eligible veterans with no dependents. The higher payment is also intended to help disabled veterans with limited means to afford the higher level of care they need, either in their home or a long-term care facility.

Benefits Available for Spouses with Dementia

While VA benefits are intended for all veterans first and foremost, there are specific programs available for their current and surviving spouses who may directly or indirectly support their dementia care. There are two programs available that provide health care benefits for veterans’ family members: CHAMPVA or TRICARE.

TRICARE

Spouses and some non-remarried former spouses of veterans may receive benefits through TRICARE, depending on one’s beneficiary category, although basic TRICARE plans don’t cover long-term care services. Beneficiaries with special needs may also cover expanded coverage in specific situations. Check out TRICARE.mil for more information.

CHAMPVA

CHAMPVA, or The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides benefits for veterans’ family members who don’t qualify for TRICARE. This includes spouses of veterans with disabilities or service members who died in the line of duty. CHAMPVA can also be used as a supplemental payer in addition to Medicare, which can help with medical costs. Although neither of these programs covers long-term care services.

Dementia Care Services

For individuals in the Richmond, VA area, Assisting Hands Home Care Richmond proudly provides dementia care services for individuals in all stages of dementia.

Our caregivers are licensed, insured, experienced, screened and trained to provide professional, compassionate care. They also have specific experience working with individuals living with dementia, remaining patient and using positive reinforcement to help keep them safe at home. Our home care services include help with ADLs, meal preparation, transportation, light housekeeping, companion care and much more.

Give us a call at (804) 500-9787 for more information about our dementia services in the greater Richmond, areas. Also you can check recordings of our dementia workshops on YouTube.

 

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