The VA budget got its’ largest ever budget increase. The $217 billion budget for VA operations is more then a 9% boost for the agency. Three-fifths of the budget consists of mandatory spending on medical benefits and disability with $92 billion going towards discretionary spending, an increase of 6%. The budget also includes $125 million for processing “blue water” Navy veterans claims. This money will go towards hiring new staff and paying for overtime. Benefits are estimated to be over $6 billion. Other figures in the new budget include: $80.2 billion for the Veterans Health Administration which incorporates $9.4 billion for mental health, $222 million in suicide prevention and $330 million in rural health initiatives. Additionally, $11.8 billion will go towards homeless veteran assistance and $9 billion for health care outside of VA facilities. However, they do reassure that the VA will continue to improve the VA facilities and services even while allowing medical care to be sought outside of the VA.
With the new, increased budget, many hope those that served our country with bravery and distinction will receive the care they deserve.
Many times, due to loss of mobility, vision problems, or other health related issues, seniors may have to give up their keys and, what may seem like, their freedom and independence. Now, however, with the increase in ride-sharing technology, seniors are gaining the ability to go places, meet people, and continue to enjoy life without being dependent on others. Some companies, like GoGoGrandparent, bridge the gap between smartphone use, ride-sharing, and the elderly. They are a hotline that connects seniors who don’t own or don’t feel comfortable using a smartphone to ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft. They can even check whether drivers are comfortable with walker and wheelchairs.
With the technology in place and services to enhance the use of the technology, ride-sharing services are giving seniors more options to live independently.
Senator Jerry Moran has been named as the new chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, after Senator Isakson retirement in December. Senator Moran plans to make suicide prevention and toxic exposure issues a priority. The senator has always been involved in veteran healthcare issues; he recently pushed for expanding healthcare options outside of the VA health system. In addition to Senator Moran replacing Senator Isakson, Representative Phil Roe will not seek reelection this coming year, leaving another leading vacant spot on the committee.
3 million; the number of how many people are affected by glaucoma.
50 percent; the amount of people who do not even know they have glaucoma.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. Nicknamed “the silent thief of sight” because there are almost no symptoms in the beginning, glaucoma can affect anyone across gender, race, and social status. As the disease progresses, there is only a slight, barely perceptible deterioration of sight. The only way to find out if you have glaucoma is to get a dilated eye exam. By the time vision loss is noticeable, the disease is usually quite advanced. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause blindness.
To learn more about glaucoma symptoms, risk factors, and treatments visit https://www.glaucoma.org/
Thank you to those who are great by making sacrifices every day to protect our well-being and safeguard our democracy.
#veteran #militaryservice #happynewyear2020
Looking to support our troops and express gratitude for their service during the holiday season? Send a care package and brighten their holiday. Try any of these organizations that arrange care packages to those who bravely serve our nation:
The holidays are a great time to show your loved ones just how special they are to you. Giving a gift that is meaningful demonstrates how important they are to you. Here’s a guide to help you find the perfect present.
1. Book of the Month Subscription
A bookworm’s delight! Now they don’t have to brave the cold or icy outdoors; a new book will be delivered to them every month.
2. Photo Keepsake
Personalizing an item is a way of keeping loved ones close. You can choose to add photos to coasters, blankets, or mugs. Or create a photo album or calendar.
3. Digital Photo Frame
Keep a display of photos running all day. With email upload available, you can update photos and share milestones instantly.
4. Eyeglasses Holder
Adorable, affordable, and useful! Let their eyeglasses have a special place and prevent the “where did I put my glasses” problem.
5. Vegetable Garden Starter Kit
With the ability to grow fresh vegetables indoors or outdoors, this is the perfect year-round gift. No green thumb necessary – step by step instructions are provided.
6. Shiatsu Pillow Massager
Soothe achy, chilly bones while allowing the warmth of your love to seep in.
Let the fragrance of essential oils permeate and brighten the house . This also comes with light and misting capabilities, so let your love one curl up and enjoy an aromatic and romantic experience every day.
8. My Life Story – So Far
Give a gift that will last generations. Grandparents or parents can fill in the clothbound book with past life experiences and what will come next and create a legacy that will last.
9. Facebook Portal
Keep in touch with your loved ones with the Portal from Facebook. It allows you to video chat, view pictures, and listen to music. It even comes with Alexa built in!
10. Heavyweight Wheelchair Blanket
Wheelchair warmth enclosed; these blankets have a double layer of fleece and even attach to the wheelchair with fasteners to ensure that everything stays covered.
Beginning January 1, 2020, veterans who served up to 12 nautical miles from the shore of Vietnam, or those who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, may now be eligible to receive benefits related to the exposure of herbicides, such as Agent Orange.
The VA is also extending benefits to children with Spina Bifida whose BWN parent may have been exposed to such herbicides while serving.
The VA in collaboration with Walmart has begun rolling out pilot locations in rural areas for telehealth services. Such services will vary by location but may include services such as primary health, nutrition, mental health, and social work. This provides accessibility for those veterans who may have long travel times to appointments. “Walmart is committed to making quality health care affordable and accessible and is working with VA to expand its ability to serve Veterans through technology. This is another way we are helping our communities live better” said Chief Growth Officer for Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness, Daryl Risinger.
The VA is constantly advancing their telehealth capabilities and is the leader of telehealth services in the country. In the last fiscal year, they have helped nearly 500,000 veterans in more then 1.3 million telehealth encounters.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for those 65 and older. Aside from the physical harm, the emotional impact is damaging as well. Fear and depression can set in, thereby reducing quality of life. Here are some ways to prevent fall:
1. Physical Exam:
2. Stay Active
Staying active can reduce the risk of falls by improving your strength, flexibility, and coordination. Special exercises or working with a physical therapist can target your weaker areas and lower your susceptibility to falls.
3. Light it Up!
Light up your living space. Darkness can disguise or conceal fall hazards. Place lighting in all areas of your house and make sure it’s available during the night. Increase lighting by your steps going up and down.
4. Use Assistive Devices:
Speak to your doctor about using a cane or walker if you think it may increase your stability and balance. You may also want to add rails by your steps and grab bars throughout your home.
You can also reduce your risk of falling by wearing the right shoes and putting non-slip mats in slippery areas such as showers or kitchens. Aside from adding these mats, make sure to walk carefully when encountering icy patches or slippery surfaces.
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