Many families are now benefiting from a new type of program under both the Veterans Administration (VA) and Medicaid that allows them to receive at-home care from a loved one or family member. A recent Next Avenue article highlights some of the benefits.
For many families, taking care of an aging loved one is a full-time job. But many cannot afford to quit working or spend extended periods away from their jobs to provide care. New types of family caregiving models called “cash and counseling” and “structured family caregiving” provide an opportunity to make up for some of the loss of income.
These programs pay a family member or friend to care for an aging loved one at home. Some even provide additional support from nursing hotlines or social workers. For those who need regular or even daily assistance, this can be a godsend, as they may receive more care than from a home care agency.
The VA program, known as the Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services, has allowed many veterans to move out of nursing homes and into the care of loved ones. In fact, while most other such programs require qualification for Medicaid, the VA program is open to all veterans, no matter their income. Of 150 VA centers nationally, sixty-one offer this program.
While most veterans prefer to use the program funds they receive to provide at-home care, it’s not required. They money can be spent on anything directly tied to a veteran’s need for help, as long as it’s reasonable. That could include transportation, adult day programs or even having someone shovel their sidewalk.
As many prefer at-home care from loved ones, the satisfaction rates with these programs have been very high. While caregivers are not paid much, it can be a replacement or supplementary wage for some.
These programs have developed out of both the need for more home health care workers and the preference many elders have for receiving care from a family member or loved one. In fact, Massachusetts is one of only six states to offer these programs, in conjunction with Massachusetts Medicaid.
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Reference: Next Avenue (June 10, 2016) “Why Aging at Home Is Getting Easier for Some Families”