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October 29, 2018

Making Home Care a More Viable Option for an Aging Veteran Living on a Fixed Income

Reginald was 82 years old. A veteran of the Korean War, he had seen more than enough direct combat during his active duty service. He understood post-traumatic stress disorder, losing friends overseas, and dealing with the aftermath. It took him a long time to mentally recover enough to get back into some semblance of normalcy in life. Quite a long time after he was discharged, Reginald finally met a wonderful woman, they married, and raised a family. Now widowed, Reginald was having difficulty at home.

His oldest son kept admonishing Reginald to consider senior care.

However, as an aging veteran living on a fixed income through a pension and Social Security, he didn’t have much money left over after his basic living expenses. The idea of paying for a senior care aide was almost laughable to him.

In fact, it wasn’t a reasonable or serious option.

So Reginald continued to struggle and worry about his safety and wondered each morning as he woke up if this was the day he was going to suffer a serious fall and injuries that would, essentially, mean the beginning of the end of his life.

Any time the topic of senior care came up, this aging veteran would say, “I can’t afford it.” Then, one afternoon, his middle child, his daughter, stopped by for a surprise visit. She checked in on him, asked some basic questions which were normal for their relationship at this point in his life, and then asked if he was willing to sit down and talk about senior care again.

He shook his head and with this sigh said, “You know I can’t afford it.”

That’s when she started talking about the Aid and Attendance pension. She had done significant research and discovered that due to his time of service overlapping a time in which the United States was actively engaged in combat, such as the Korean War, and because of his physical challenges (his doctor had already recommended home care as well), and his limited income, he would likely be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit.

“But you have to fill it out and submit it in order to start getting help here at home,” his daughter said. He was surprised. He had heard about Aid and Attendance benefits, but never thought it would apply to him. He agreed to fill out the application and as they went through it, they were both fully convinced he would be approved.

That meant he was able to contact a senior care agency and begin relying on these services because the VA does offer reimbursement for home care provided while the application was pending, assuming it is ultimately approved.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Cicero IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.


"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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