Woman gives vets helping hand
“Being in a family is freedom.” This woman opened her home to veterans — providing an alternative to nursing homes and creating a unique family.
For most veterans, the arrangement is for the rest of their lives
Samuel Maneely World War II Vet and Korean War Vet Jacob Tingle, who is 89 years old. Sharon Smack-Dixon has opened her home to veterans who can no longer live alone. She’s part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Medical Foster Home program — an alternative to nursing homes. Sharon takes care of the veterans full time. Sharon’s home can care for 3 veterans.
Being in a family is freedom and their life just blossoms. And with their age, they do very well. They have their own independence. They have their likes and differences. But yet we all come together as a family. I love that woman, she's like a sister. I'm very happy here. I walk down the street. Walk all around the building. I do my exercise. They asked me to talk to him, I talk to him. This is our sweet little youngin.
It's like family. We do all kinds of stuff. Watch TV, play checkers. We get along. Veterans should live in homes like this. Because they get treated better than they would anywhere else. Veterans should live in homes like this. Because they get treated better than they would anywhere else. My life I right now would say my life is better than it has ever been. I'm very happy and very pleased with what's going on here.
I have my grands, my great grandsons, my granddaughter, my son, my daughter-in-law, and everyone lives here. It's a great, great, great place, because what happens is I have my young grandkids that interact with Jake and Sam and for them, is like a grandfather situation.
VA staff also visit the foster homes for oversight and support
Veterans pay foster home caregivers themselves — about $1,500 to $3,000 per month. According to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs there are over 1,000 vets in the program and about 700 caregivers in 42 states. And for most veterans, the arrangement is for the rest of their lives.