I was in the home of a veteran recently; he had served in WWII. At 94 years of age he shared how he had dodged bullets and land mines. He had stories most of us could never imagine. He explained how at such a young age; he was invincible, but today, he’s afraid of the stairs. It was difficult for him to comprehend how his life had changed and now this soldier had anxiety over walking down steps.
Another gentleman I met was in the military for many years and these days had challenges walking. He had not been in the second level of his home in almost a year. When asked what he thought the VA could do for him, he showed us what was in his hand and said, “They gave me this cane”! He believed this was all he deserved and couldn’t imagine that mobility equipment, like a stair lift would even be possible.
My third encounter with a retired military man took place in his home as well. He too greeted us at the door with a cane in hand. His wife had called us to measure for a stair lift. Their staircase was huge; one of those beautiful sweeping kinds you might see in a movie! As the consultant was measuring, she motioned for me to join her in the kitchen.
“Do you know why you’re here?” she asked. I knew we were there to measure for the stair lift but wondered why she was asking me this question. “You’re here…” she explained “…because he has fallen down those steps eight times!”
I was shocked. My first inclination was to be happy they made the call for us to come out and help them get fitted for a lift. My second thought was why in the world did it take eight times for him to fall before they called? We saw that he had a cane, but no one had realized he was losing his eyesight and he never saw those first few steps at the top.
Three different veterans who had been in various branches of the military, yet all had served our nation with their strength, their skills and their soul. Before we got to them, they were suffering, not on foreign soil but in the confines of their own homes.
We are grateful for all our veterans and all that you have done to protect our freedoms. Now let us be a safeguard for you. You may not be aware of all the resources that are available.
If you are a veteran who became disabled because of your time in the service, the HISA Grant is a Home Improvement and Structural Alterations Grant that was created so veterans who qualify can have home modifications that are needed based on the disability. The HISA Grant will cover renovations such as:
· Grab bars and handrails
· Driveway and path improvements
· Electrical outlets and switches lowered
· Bathroom and kitchen counters with improved access
· Upgrading necessary access for sanitary lavatory facilities
· For dialysis patients plumbing and electrical improvements
· Accommodations allowing the veteran to enter or exit the home safely
The details are covered here: https://www.prosthetics.va.gov/docs/HISA_english.pdf
It’s now our turn to be a resource for you - we have not forgotten.