This is the time of year when many of us spend extended amounts of time with relatives we haven’t seen in a while. Because of this, it’s also a common time to notice that an elderly loved one needs more support than they are currently getting.

Elders value their independence, and this can sometimes make them hesitant to ask for the help they need. This can be particularly true for Veterans.

Thankfully, there are a number of great programs available to aging Veterans in the Seattle area.

Help with mental and emotional health

Did you know that 11 percent of Veterans age 65 and older have been diagnosed with depression? Even more have mental health issues that are left undiagnosed.

Getting older can be hard, and there’s no reason anyone should suffer alone. In King County, Aging and Disability Services offers a special counseling program for aging Veterans. The service is free, and the counselor will come to the Veteran’s home.

Help finding age-appropriate health care

Sometimes finding the right provider can be the biggest barrier to getting care. Your local Veterans Affairs office is a great place to start.

The VA offers a number of special programs for aging Veterans, including geriatrics, long-term care and home-based services. A representative from the VA can also help your loved one access benefits to pay for these programs. You can also research resources on the National Resource Directory.

Help paying for a caregiver

The VA offers a program – called Disability Pension plus Aid and Attendance¬†to help pay for care for older Veterans who need help with activities of daily living. The care can be provided by a family member or a professional, and can take place in the Veteran’s home or in a long-term care facility. Having a service-connected disability is not a requirement.

Most people who qualify for Aid and Attendance don’t take advantage of it. For more information about the program and how to apply, read this blog post.

Help delegating responsibilities

At some point, almost everyone will need help managing their finances, medical care or other affairs. It is always better to create guidelines for this assistance before the need arises. An elder law attorney can help your loved one create medical directives, powers of attorney and other documents that will keep their assets safe and their wishes protected.