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|Written by Chris Hawkins|
SeniorLiving.Org Expert on Senior Care & Assisted Living
One of the advantages of having served your country is the availability of special ex-military senior living options.
While many veterans choose to live in civilian settings, there are communities that cater to Veterans, sometimes exclusively.
There are essentially three types of senior living for veterans:
Let’s explore these senior housing options for Veterans in more detail.
VA Senior Housing Options for Veterans
Community Nursing Homes are places for Veterans to live and receive skilled nursing care 24/7. The VA contracts with nursing homes across the country to care for Veterans. Other services include occupational and physical therapy, access to social services, short-term rehab, and dementia care.
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The “VA will pay for Community Nursing Home care if you meet eligibility criteria involving your service connected status, level of disability, and income.”
Community Living Centers (VA Nursing Home) provide nursing home care to Veterans of all ages. These facilities are designed to feel more like “homes”. Residents can decorate their rooms and are allowed pets.
Their mission “is to restore each Veteran to his or her highest level of well-being. It is also to prevent declines in health and to provide comfort at the end of life.”
Eligibility is "based on clinical need and setting availability." The VA pays for care “if you meet certain eligibility criteria involving your service connected status, level of disability and income.” You must enroll in the VA health system and be medically and psychiatrically stable.
VA health system and be eligible for nursing home care. You must also be medically and psychiatrically stable.
State Veterans Homes provide nursing home and adult day care for “veterans disabled by age, disease, or otherwise who by reason of such disability are incapable of earning a living.” State governments own and operate these facilities. However, the VA does survey the facilities yearly to ensure they meet their standards.
Eligibility is “based on clinical need and setting availability." Each State establishes eligibility and admission criteria for its homes.” State Veterans Homes are located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Costs vary by state and facility. Costs are lower than non-VA-funded nursing homes.
Medical Foster Homes are private homes where Veterans (and non-veterans) receive 24/7 nursing care in a small, private home. The VA approves and inspects these homes. The VA does not pay for your stays. Medical Foster Homes charge between $1,500 and $3,000 a month based on your income and the level of care you need.
Non-VA Federal Retirement Homes
The Armed Forces Retirement Home(s) (AFRH) is an independent federal agency run as a Continuing Care Retirement Community with locations in Washington D.C. and Gulfport, MS. The AFRHs are open to all branches of the military. Though they are run like a corporation, the AFRH is subject to the authority and control of the Secretary of Defense.
To live there, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, you must be able to live independently at the time of admission. However, if “increased health care is needed after being admitted, assisted living and long term care are available at both campuses.”
Some of the amenities include three daily meals, 24-hour fitness facilities, on-site pharmacy, full service bar, and more.
Senior Living Communities for Veterans
If you want to enjoy your senior years in the company of other veterans, consider a military retirement community. These communities are similar to any other senior living arrangement only they are either exclusively for retired military or are a mixture of civilian and military. Certain levels of Federal employees (GS) also qualify for some communities.
Examples of Qualified Veteran Branches
What Differentiates Senior Living for Veterans?
The biggest difference is the shared experiences of its residents whether it’s one combat vet reminiscing with another or a former Navy wife recalling their travels and life on base. This kind of camaraderie can only be found in the service.
Senior Living Communities for Veterans
This is not a complete list of senior living communities for Veterans but is a starting point for your search.