Creating a healthy working system by building Veteran Community Bases.
Can the VA reverse the current course of community care for veterans who are living with a mental health diagnosis?
Here’s a short list of suggestions I have repeatedly asked the VA to consider:
1) Furnish some of the 700+ under-utilized and vacant VA buildings with practical services and resources for active daily living, in a natural setting.
2) Designate grants like Community Partnerships to fund a unified pilot program that reconstructs services at designated locations.
3) Recruit active-duty volunteers, community organizations, and local businesses to physically set-up Veteran Community Bases.
4) Hire and sub-contract with under-employed military spouses to assist veterans at the bases and provide short-term stays in their homes.
New data suggests there are more than two million veterans who are diagnosed with cognitive impairment and dementia. Currently, there are no options for purposeful daily endeavors and routine physical activities. It’s not bad enough that veterans are being placed in adult day cares and secured living communities; they are paying out of pocket for it too. The average monthly cost for group care settings is $5000.00. Most veterans can barely afford to pay half that amount or less. More importantly, I have never met a veteran who deserves to live their last days in a nursing home or lying in a hospital bed. They find peace and comfort in natural settings.
I have five years of collected data to confirm that when veterans are out and active in the community they 1) sleep better and 2) take less medication because they have a sense of accomplishment and belonging. The primary partners also report a lot less stress at home. My documentation also displays that veterans enjoy being out of the house and actively engaged on average – 4 hours a day, up to 4 days a week. The average length of time in the program is 18 months. If this is something the VA can afford to consider; I would be honored to share a clear cut path to putting the veterans first and making the VA a community leader, around the world.
‘Hands to work and Hearts to God’