Now It's Time for Us to Serve Them
For most Americans, Memorial Day represents the unofficial start of summer, a time when family and friends head to the beach or gather for backyard cookouts. Of course, we know the true purpose of the day … a time to remember the ultimate sacrifices made by brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives in defense of our country. Memorial Day also provides another opportunity for Americans to honor those veterans who are still with us and thank them for their service.
While a great deal of attention in recent years has focused on the needs of younger vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, a much larger cohort of veterans are older, having served in Vietnam and earlier. These warriors are now reaching their senior years, and as we have for previous generations, Volunteers of America has stepped forward to serve their needs. We serve as many as 5,000 senior veterans in our programs nationwide, and many of our programs have been tailored to meet the specific needs of senior veteran clients. Four Volunteers of America skilled nursing facilities (three in Minnesota and one in Colorado) have contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs, allowing veterans to use our services and have costs covered by their VA benefits. Also in Colorado, the Senior CommUnity Meals program currently serves approximately 100 veterans with home-delivered and congregate dining site meals. Volunteers of America is the only provider of this type of service in the multi-county rural service area, located in the remote western part of the state.
With almost 8,200 units, Volunteers of America is one of the nation's largest nonprofit providers of "service-enriched" affordable senior housing, ranging from independent living apartments to properties offering supportive services such as meals and medical supervision. Our goal is to provide older Americans with options as they age, including housing that ranges from independent living apartments with service coordinators to around-the-clock nursing care. We also provide a variety of support services to help seniors live longer in their own homes if they choose, including modifications like wheelchair ramps and installation of other accessibility features for those with impaired mobility.
America's veterans served their county honorably; now it's time for us to serve them. To learn more about the many ways Volunteers of America serves veterans, including older veterans, please visit www.voa.org/veterans.