This month we're spending a lot of time talking about our Vets. At Idaho Estate Planning, we work hard to support Vets in all walks of life. And specifically, this month due to Veterans Day, we want to give some specific thoughts and advice to Veterans and their loved ones. The VA estimates there are about 22 million Vets living in the US right now, so there's a good chance someone you love has served.
Vets come in all shapes and sizes. Those who have served at war, and those in peacetime, and some who have seen both. Those who are disabled, and many (disabled or not) who have used their military experience to launch successful careers. As a loved one of a Vet, how can you best support them and their past experiences? At Idaho Estate Planning, we work mostly with Vets over the age of 65, helping them take advantage of the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit. But we have some thoughts for all Vets, regardless of age or service.
1. Take their lead. Some Vets want to reminisce and be involved with the VFW. Some would rather just move on and not talk too much about it. Either is fine, don't push it either way. There may be some individuals who change over time and want to become more or less involved as time passes. (Of course, there are exceptions: if there are mental health issues, it may be necessary to dig a little bit--but that's best left to professionals.) Which brings us to the next point....
2. Get help. From long-term care to mental health, to physical health, navigating VA benefits, and more, you don't have to do it alone. Whether you're a child or spouse, friend or even a social worker, there are a number of resources available. In fact, Mark recently talked with Mike Powell on Senior Matters Radio about navigating VA benefits. We know some of these Vets can be a stubborn bunch, so it may be necessary to call in reinforcements!
3. Be supportive. Especially for our older vets, there's a lot of baggage around getting help and having mental or emotional difficulties. Throw your whole support behind them so they know that no matter what, you're in their corner. This means not being judgemental and offering those resources from above that can help both the Vet and give you the tools you need.
We hope these points are helpful to you. If you have specific questions about the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit, give us a call. This specific program for wartime Vets (and their spouses) over 65 can alleviate some of the financial burdens of long-term care. It's worth finding out if your loved one qualifies.