Program Offers Veterans Alternative To Nursing Home Care

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Medical Foster Home Program allows disabled veterans to live in the homes of caregivers, giving them an alternative to nursing home care.

"I put myself in their place, you know. If I had been in the military, it would be nice to have someone that would take care of me," said Milvirdia Thompson, caregiver.

Milvirdia opened up her home to veterans, like 86-year-old Bill Skillman, after considering what veterans have done for our country.

"Thought that since the veterans had done so much for the country, I thought I would try to give something back. My father was retired military and my husband was retired military, so I just felt that at least I can do this," said Milvirdia.

Bill, who is a World War II veteran, had lived on his own for years and never wanted to move into a nursing home. When he heard about the Medical Foster Home Program, he wanted to get in.

"The nursing home thing was an alternative I never though about. I would've stayed in my apartment over there at Twin Rivers and just kept going. But this turned up and I hadn't known anything about it and it's just worked out beautifully," said Bill.

Milvirdia takes care of Bill by cooking and cleaning.

"She's just a wonderful person," said Bill.

And Bill keeps Milvirdia company.

"I've always liked cooking and serving people. So, this is like company for me," said Milvirdia.

Now, two complete strangers have built a friendship and a caregiver relationship that both are thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm blessed and I'm thankful to have him here [and] to help the men," said Milvirdia.

Most veterans who choose medical foster homes, require nursing home care but prefer a non-institutional setting.

Veterans pay the caregiver with their own resources and costs $1,500-$3,000 per month, based on the veteran's income and level of care.

As of March 2010, there were 67 VA Medical Centers in 36 states developing Medical Foster Home Programs, including Wichita and Leavenworth/Topeka.

You can learn more about the program by clicking here.

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