Pilot Senior Corps programs launched in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently began partnering with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to engage Senior Corps volunteers in support of VA’s Choose Home Initiative, enabling older Veterans to receive needed homemaker and daily living support in their homes, rather than move into health care institutions.
“VA supports Veterans who choose to remain home while receiving the care and services they need,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This partnership will help improve Veterans’ health and well-being and will aid their families and caregivers through in-home assistance.”
CNCS is the federal agency that leads national volunteering and service efforts. Senior Corps volunteers are a nationwide network of service programs for volunteers age 55 or older who commit their time to a wide range of community needs. CNCS mobilizes Senior Corps volunteers to provide homemaker and in-home respite care services to eligible Veterans, so those Veterans can remain in their own homes, live more independently and stay close to their families, caregivers and support services.
Homemakers assist with activities of daily living, such as light housekeeping and preparing meals. Respite care services temporarily relieve caregivers of their duties, so they may rest and return refreshed.
Through this interagency collaboration, which was formally agreed to in May, CNCS is providing volunteer support services in the following five communities that are part of the Senior Care Choose Home Program: Colorado Springs, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; Missoula, Montana; Pittsburgh; and San Antonio.
Senior Corps volunteers will receive training about Veteran-specific concerns, including suicide awareness and prevention, before providing services in Veterans’ homes. Those participating in the partnership will also receive ongoing training on a variety of Veteran-related topics.
“Through national service, our commitment to Veterans is twofold: We serve them and we invite them to serve with us,” said Barbara Stewart, CEO of CNCS. “This new Senior Corps project is a unique opportunity to do both, helping aging Veterans to ‘choose home’ while providing others with a second opportunity to serve.”