Senior Helpers offers free VA benefit assistance The Chandler Arizonan

Senior Helpers offers free VA benefit assistance

Senior Helpers offers free VA benefit assistance
Health and Wellness
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By Holly Bentley
Contributing Writer

Honoring veterans and all they have done to serve the country is essential at Senior Helpers. The organization is expressing its gratitude by helping veterans with tasks that are covered by the VA.

“Many veterans have no idea that we have representatives available who can walk them through the entire process from start to finish,” said Senior Helpers of Scottsdale owner Tiffany Phelan.

“There are currently thousands of Arizona veterans who qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, which provides in-home assistance, but are unaware or uncertain how to access it.”

Local veteran Paul Welker, who was drafted into the Army in 1967 and served 14 months in Vietnam, is visited three times a week by a Senior Helpers caregiver to help him with daily tasks after surviving a stroke and having hip replacement surgery.

“In the beginning, it was very tough for me to get in and out of the shower, but things are at least 75% better now when it comes to managing my pain,” Welker said. “I find her things that I need done that I can barely do by myself. I couldn’t ask for a better person.”

That “person” is Senior Helpers caregiver Charlene Cupp, who is a certified nursing assistant. With more than 27 years of experience, she has helped many veterans from 30 to 100 years old.

“They need the care and they appreciate it,” Cupp said. “A lot of them couldn’t complete their activities of daily living without Senior Helpers. I know what they’ve done for our country and to see them smile is just amazing.”

Veterans who served a minimum of 90 days of active duty, including one day of active duty during a period of war or conflict such as World War II or the Korean or Vietnam wars, may qualify for this benefit.

“As experts in the senior care industry, we understand the needs of veterans,” Phelan said. “We work seamlessly with professional assistance organizations to make sure they and their spouses receive the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible.”

Senior Helpers will guide veterans and their families through the process of understanding if they qualify for the benefit and will put them in touch with an accredited agent who can assist with the application process of a fully developed claim, which is processed more quickly and is more likely to be approved. Some claims are approved in as little as 30 to 60 days.

“After a thorough assessment, we create an individualized plan of care, customized to meet the veteran’s unique needs,” Phelan said. “That plan is also designed to preserve their independence and freedom, while allowing them to remain in the comfort of their home.”

Services for veterans through Senior Helpers include assistance include bathing, dressing, grooming, medication management, light housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, transportation to and from appointments and companionship.

“It may be surprising to some, but companionship for our veterans is crucial during this time,” said Senior Helpers of Tempe adviser John Skelton.

“After months of sheltering in place and remaining socially distant from family members, there has been a definite increase in anxiety and depression due to the pandemic.”

While Welker relies on Cupp to help him with daily tasks, they have also built an incredible friendship.

“She came over this morning with a birthday cake, always going above and beyond what she was called for,” Welker said. “I’m not sure what the future holds, but one way or another I would like to continue my friendship with Charlene.”

In addition to day-to-day tasks or errands, Senior Helpers also aid individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. The list of services is extensive, and Welker wants to encourage other veterans to, at the very least, schedule a call with Senior Helpers.

“I would tell them don’t be afraid to go forward because your service is such a blessing. I used to let go and give to God and now Charlene has taken over for him,” Welker said.

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