Benefits help Vietnam vet in assisted living

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An Indianapolis couple is grateful to learn that some veteran perks are helping provide a better quality of life for those who signed up to join the military when others were dodging the draft.

These are benefits you might qualify for, but might not know about.

It was a long time ago when Wilbur Harvey served as a chaplain in Vietnam.  He joined the Army when he was 39.  Now, at 85, he remembers clearly the need.

"The men were - most of them - didn't want to be there," he recalls. "They didn't even want to be in the Army. You know, there was a draft and back home was not very supportive."

Laura, Wilbur's wife of 67 years, says their three years apart were challenging.  "I'm proud of him. He wasn't drafted," she recalled. "He was asked to come in and he did, and he has served his time and I'm proud of him, even though I really truly missed him."

Laura stayed busy caring for their four children, two girls and two boys.

"I thought maybe if I go, my sons won't have to," Wilbur said.

They have provided many grandchildren - a large support system.

Daughter Beth is part of that support, "You really have to think about their safety. A home alone is not safe for an elderly parent."

Wilbur recognizes that, "We are at an age where we need help,"

But moving can be expensive. That's where federal benefits can help.

Mark Wallis represents Rosegate Senior Communities, which hosts veterans. "It's available for a veteran as well as a surviving spouse. Just as a surviving spouse, you can be available for $1300 a month of extra income to offset the cost of coming to assisted living," he explained.

"Anybody that was in Vietnam should look into it," Beth recomments, "because there is a special program for Vietnam veterans."

The benefits help cover the costs of breathing equipment, a power chair, and space to live together at Rosegate Assisted Living.

You can learn more about benefits for veterans and also get free health screenings tomorrow at the WTHR - American Senior Communities Health Fair.  It runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Community Hospital South.