After retiring from active duty or returning stateside after a long overseas tour, you might have used a VA loan to finance your home purchase. VA loans provide current and former members of the armed services and their surviving spouses with up to 100% financing on a mortgage. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs backs these loans, making it possible for veterans who might get denied a conventional mortgage to purchase a home.
Once you own a home, you might wish to stay in it for as long as possible, instead of moving into an assisted living or nursing care facility. While these communities can have many advantages, some renovations might help you or your loved one remain independent. Numerous financial and other resources are available to veterans who want to age in place.
Home Improvements to Help Aging-in-Place Veterans
If you or your loved one plan on aging in place, home improvements can make the house more convenient and functional for someone with limited mobility. Here are some examples of aging-in-place upgrades you can make.
- Ramps: If the veteran uses a wheelchair or another mobility aid, such as a cane or walker, installing ramps can make it easier for them to get around the home. A ramp beside or above steps leading to the front door allows them to enter and exit with ease. If there are steps up to the kitchen or down into the living room, an indoor ramp can also be a suitable addition.
- Elevators: A home elevator allows a person with limited mobility to travel from floor to floor of a house with ease. Home elevators can also be convenient for people who don’t have mobility issues. For example, the elevator can make it easier to transport items from one story to the next. Even if the house isn’t very spacious, it is often possible to retrofit an elevator into an existing space, such as a closet.
- Bathroom modifications: A safe and convenient bathroom is a must-have for any veteran who wants to age in place. If the house doesn’t currently have a bathroom on each floor, installing one on every level should be a priority. Other ways to make a bathroom more accessible for people with limited mobility include replacing tubs with step-in showers and installing grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet.
- Wider doors: If a veteran uses a scooter or wheelchair, the existing doors in the home might not be wide enough to accommodate the mobility aid. Widening the doors allows a veteran to pass through them freely, allowing them full access to their entire home.
Financial Assistance for Veterans Who Age in Place
The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t only provide financial assistance for veterans looking to purchase a property. The agency also offers pensions and financial aid to older veterans who wish to age in place. Here are some of the living grants and financial programs available to help veterans modify their homes, so they can enjoy living there for as long as possible.
- Specially Adapted Housing grant: The SAH provides up to $100,896 to help veterans adapt their homes. The grant money is available to veterans with a service-related disability, such as the loss of the use of one or more limbs or blindness in one or both eyes. Grant recipients can use money from the program to modify an existing home or purchase an accessible home.
- Special Home Adaptation grant: The SHA grant also provides money to veterans with service-connected disabilities. The injuries that make a person eligible for an SHA grant can be less severe than those that qualify someone for an SAH grant. As of 2021, the maximum grant amount is $20,215.
- Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant: Though a person must have disabling service-connected injuries to qualify for either a SAH or SHA grant, a veteran can be eligible for an HISA grant to update their home if they have a disability that doesn’t relate to their military service. For a non-service-connected disability, a veteran can receive up to $2,000 in grant funding to improve their home. The funding limit is $6,800 for veterans with service-connected injuries.
The VA also offers an additional monthly pension to veterans who are housebound or need help with daily activities. This allowance can enable you or your loved one to remain in the home while receiving any necessary care.
Other Resources Available for Veterans
Adjusting a home is only one step toward making a property suitable for aging in place. There are also social and logistical concerns to address. For example, how will a veteran get to the grocery store or medical visits? How will they spend their days?
Fortunately, many programs exist to help veterans who remain at home live multidimensional lives. The VA has a transportation service that brings veterans to and from their medical appointments at VA facilities. Home health care programs are also available from the VA.
Though the VA can be an excellent resource for former service members, it’s not the only option available. A local senior center might have a program that sends volunteers into people’s homes to provide companionship. Through such a program, a veteran might connect with someone who shares similar interests.
Beyond relying on social services programs, it’s also a good idea for veterans who want to age in place to create a plan for their safety at home. Making a list of emergency contacts and putting their primary emergency contact on speed dial will put assistance within reach.
An Inclinator Elevator Can Help You Age in Place
Your home is a place of memories and comfort. It makes sense to want to remain there for as long as possible. Inclinator can make it possible for veterans to age in place. We can retrofit our home elevators into an existing home. The cab styles match any decor, too. To learn more about the process of retrofitting or installing an elevator in your home or your loved one’s home, find the Inclinator dealer nearest you.