Veterans Affairs Facing Growing Number of Elderly Veterans

| March 3, 2020

What’s demographically true throughout the US is a reality among the veteran community. Baby Boomers are getting older. With age comes age-related health issues. Veterans Affairs is expecting to be addressing health-related issues of a growing senior population.

From Military Times:

Today, about half of the 9 million veterans currently enrolled in veterans health care programs are 65 or older. Over the next decade, the number of veterans over 75 in that group is expected to approach 3 million.

The number of veterans aged 85 or older receiving care from VA health services is expected to grow more than five times over the next two decades, as life expectancy continues to improve.

Last month, a Government Accountability Office raised doubts that VA officials are prepared for that “silver tsunami,” with widespread vacancies at department community living centers and other key medical facilities.

In addition, Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif. and chairwoman of the committee’s health panel, said too much of the VA’s current approach to elderly care appears focused on institutional programs, rather than less expensive and more flexible in-home care assistance.

In the article, they point out that the spending needed for elderly veterans would go over $15 billion over two decades. That projected timeframe would put the vast majority of us here in the “elderly” category when these two decades occur… Depending on which age is used to be considered as “elderly”.

Military Times has the article here.

Category: Veteran Health Care

Comments (25)

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  1. Comm Center Rat says:

    “When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

    ~ Tecumseh, Shawnee Warrior & Tribal Chief (1768-1813)

  2. Mason says:

    Don’t worry. This won’t be a long term issue because the planet is going to end in 11 years. I heard it from some very smart politicians.

    • Ret_25X says:

      I heard they want to steal our vital bodily fluids…

      lulz

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Not even that long Mason. We are DOOMED! DOOMED I TELL YOU, DOOMED! That imported beer virus and a citrus fruit disease is coming for us.

      Drink.more.Yuengling!

      The VA should take care of Combat related issues FIRST. And then Service related issues. I have yet to sign up for VA Care. And probably won’t. When my time is up, if I have the time I will chant my death song and go to my reward or just desserts. I have had a pretty good run this time around. Very few regrets.

  3. AW1Ed says:

    I’m sure most would prefer in-home care rather than being institutionalized, but that requires some family support as well. Family obviously has to be present, willing and able to provide some level of assistance. Perhaps some savings offset could be allocated to the family to ease the cost burden.

    • Ret-25X says:

      the thing to remember is that there are more than 2 options here.

      1. Nursing home level
      2. Home care
      3. Assisted Care
      4. Self care retirement communities
      5. Family care

      My problem with all government health systems is the focus only on 1 and 2 and almost never on the rest.

      Near my house here in NOVA there is a retired officer retiree community where the level of care is based on need. Folks move in there in early retirement and their care is increased as needed. Residents seem to like the concept.

      Of course family care is going to be hard in the future. I mean, how in the hell are we going to move in with our avocado toast eating grandkids if they refuse to work and have no home? lulz

      • Comm Center Rat says:

        My father, a AF enlisted retiree, lived the last several years of his life at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC. It’s a world class facility with exceptional healthcare, dining, recreational, and cultural services and programs. He also liked that it was close to Arlington National Cemetery, his final resting place.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      A diagnosis of combat related ptsd will
      disqualify you for Long Term Care insurance.
      So staying in your home (if you own one) is
      going to be expensive.

      • BruteLarson407 says:

        I didn’t know that. I was able to find Life Insurance being denied, but not Long Term Care(I’m no ninja). Do you know why, or what they cite as the reason? I can’t work out why they’d do that. I think both are bullshit, but I can at least work out why they’d hem-haw on Life Insurance.

        • 26Limabeans says:

          The agent I spoke with could not offer
          a reason but stated that it is industry
          wide and he does not agree with it.
          He had to turn down two applicants in
          just two months time.

          LTC insurance is a dying business,
          no pun intended. People who bought
          policies in their early fifties are now bankrupting the business and even
          “acceptable” applicants are finding it
          hard to aquire and very expensive.

          I don’t need it for myself as I have
          saved up for my demise and own my
          home but I have friends that are not so
          fortunate and look to the VA for help.

          I am in favor of “Old Soldiers Homes”
          for our aging warriers. We owe them.

          • BruteLarson407 says:

            We do owe them. I got to thinking about it after I asked, and then just removed the P, and T. Stress disorder in and of itself could be number crunched by bean counting actuaries as being a major cause of damn near anything. Maybe that’s their reasoning, brutal as it is.

            If we can give shitpiles of money to countries that hate us, we should be able to divert some or all of that to pay for “Old Soldiers Homes.”

            I bet if they were old soldiers that served in some other country’s army that slid over the border, they’d have no problems getting whatever they need.

          • timactual says:

            Also, the premiums on LTC go up every year, and it wasn’t cheap to start with.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    Considering everything, I’d rather be at home and busy than sitting in a room with a bunch of old fogies who never did anything and are just fading away.

    I expect to outlive most of them anyway, as does my sister, so we’re good to go. If i’m sick with Da Patootie, a visiting nurse would be better than in-house hospital stuff (unless there are respirator issues – that’s different) and I think the cost would be lpwer, too. Most of us want to be independent anyway.

  5. Berliner says:

    My folks chose the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy, IL for their remaining time on earth. Dedicated in 1886, it has beds for 600 patients on a 220 acre campus plus a guest house for visitors. 1 year Illinois residency requirement to apply for those out of state and cost is based on income.

  6. Skippy says:

    Didn’t they already face this in the late 70s into the
    Early 90s with the WW2 and Korean war Vets ???
    With altimeter record high budgets in total dollars
    As a whole and per vet this shouldn’t be a issue

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      Folks live much longer now.

      The vast trove of treatments springing forth from our free-market system comes with a price tag.

      Those will only increase.

      Well provided idiots don’t wreck our system for the unicorn-fart plan.

      “Retirement age” at 65 used to line up with “most folks are dead by then”. Now? Tack on two decades.

      • David says:

        And how many of those treatments and tests are necessary vs. physician CYA?

      • Anonymous says:

        My grandparents died in their mid-90s. Neither of my parents (75) are anywhere near “declining” in health.

    • timactual says:

      In the 90s eligibility for VA benefits was expanded to everyone who ever wore a uniform. Veterans using the system increased by about 100% in the 90s.

      And we get another benefit starting in Jan! Eligible veterans can shop at exchanges and use other facilities previously only available to active and retired personnel.

  7. OWB says:

    You have to be vigilant no matter which option you select. Plenty of folks out there more than willing to hasten your demise no matter your wishes or whatever ails you.

  8. Graybeard says:

    Our family was able to allow our WWII CIB veteran father live out the last of his days in the house he built for us to live in.

    Some of what made that possible was that he did not have to take any ‘maintenance’ meds and a brother who quit work to care for him – they both lived off Dad’s SS check somehow. The house was paid for, and myself and another brother were close enough to help when needed.

    I’m wondering about today’s young folks who are getting out with 90-100% disability ratings, but just starting to raise a family. There is a long row to hoe before them, and the VA has not been very good about stepping up for my son, I know.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, duh… they can’t all kill themselves from lack of service out in the parking lot, you know! (VA is just going to have to do its job, sorry.)

  10. Ret_25X says:

    The AFRH appears to be focused on single folks.

    What will be needed is a similar concept for those who still have their spouses/SOs.

    Plenty of models for this…frankly, the USG could simply by one of the over 55 communities around the nation.

    I would also think that another couple of the current model of AFRH might be needed in the Midwest and west coast.

    I doubt a government spending more than $4 Trillion a year can “find” spare change for such things…after all, veterans just don’t represent enough votes anymore.