Cambridge Realty Capital staff members spend a great deal of their time working on various aspects related to the financing of assisted living facilities for seniors. While this business is ultimately all about the seniors who benefit from the care they receive in those facilities, Cambridge doesn’t often get to see that side of the senior living business. So when the opportunity arose to draw attention to one of the human aspects of senior living, Cambridge Chairman Jeffrey Davis didn’t hesitate to say “yes.”
The need for safe, affordable housing and medical care for seniors in America has never been greater. The first of the US’s baby boomers reached the age of 65 in 2011. More and more have become seniors in the years following, an aging trend frequently referred to as “the Silver Tsunami.” By the time the last of the baby boomers turn 65 in 2030, 18 percent of the total US population will be senior citizens.
Some 40% of baby boomers are veterans and they, like the rest of the population, will likely require some form of extended health care during their senior years. This includes the need for assisted living services.
In addition to the kinds of aging issues that tend to afflict during the senior years, such as mobility limitations, disease and cognitive decline, veterans are often grappling with problems that that their non-veteran peers have never dealt with. Even now, some veterans still struggle with PTSD. Many others are missing limbs. Other health issues common to veterans include chronic pain related to injury during service, the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) which can be mild to severe, the lingering effects of chemical and infectious disease exposure and hearing impairment or loss.
“Every senior should have access to medical care, most especially those who sacrificed their own health and well-being to serve their country,” says Davis.
It is a sentiment that Donna Villar agrees with. Villar is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Assisted Living Research Institute. ALRI is a non-partisan community organization that prioritizes helping those who are disabled and the elderly fully enjoy their healthy years and age gracefully. ALRI gives special recognition to veterans who, often because of their contributions to their country, now experience extraordinary medical issues in their senior years.
According to Villar, there are numerous resources available to US veterans in their senior years, including funding for assisted living as well as in-home care. In consultation with health care professionals, assisted living and senior care stakeholders and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, ALRI has created a guide to assisted living benefits for veterans. It’s a one-stop-shop of information for veterans containing information about eligibility for funding from the Veterans Administration, housing options for senior veterans who do not require assisted living as well as those who do, and in-home care and living assistance. It also features links to veterans benefits planners who can help individual veterans determine and maximize eligibility for various programs, and a directory of veterans homes by state.
Villar acknowledges that it can be challenging for veterans to navigate the system, largely because there are so many different programs available, but administered by different agencies. ALRI’s goal in creating its guide for veterans and their family members was to make all of this information available in a single web page. Users can click on any of the links on the page for further information on any topic that is relevant to the veteran’s individual needs. The guide can be found at https://www.assistedliving.org/assisted-living-benefits-for-veterans/ .
“We are happy to highlight the Assisted Living Research Institute and this guide,” Davis remarks. “We strongly support any measure that is designed to help senior and disabled veterans.”