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In my time at the forefront of our department, I've strived to reach out to as many areas of the state as possible to honor and interact with our veterans, hear their stories and concerns, and spread the word about all of the ways we can offer aid and services to them.
Our dedicated staff, of course, joins this endeavor as we work daily to connect those who served honorably to the programs and benefits that will help guide them to healthy and productive lives as civilians.
We coordinate efforts with the VA, state agencies and our 88 County Veteran Services Offices in order to help older veterans maximize their benefits and direct them to disability care. For example, some Ohioans may not realize that the county offices can provide veterans free transportation to medical appointments.
Some may need clarification regarding pensions or financial assistance. Others may not realize they qualify for survival or burial benefits.
Ohio has 2.5 million residents over the age of 60 and our 60-plus population is growing more than 20 times faster than our overall population. The state also is home to approximately 866,000 veterans - which ranks sixth nationally - and many of them are over the age of 60.
Aging truly is everybody's business.
What we find at the Department of Veterans Services is that oftentimes older Ohioans are our best advocates - and the most helpful. They have enormous potential as volunteers, mentors, employees and leaders.
Older Americans Month allows us to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our Golden Buckeyes and also is a time when we recognize the many Ohioans who care for and serve our elders and ensure that they have opportunities to grow, thrive and contribute.
That certainly is a big arm of what we do at the Department of Veterans Services, especially when you consider the daily efforts of our health-care professionals and staff at our Veterans Homes in Sandusky and Georgetown. The Homes provide specialized care for those with Alzheimer's and dementia, and also encourage fitness, recreation, crafts and other activities.
The Homes allow our veterans to live safely in comfort and dignity.
To learn about all the important programs we offer through the Department of Veterans Services, make sure to visit our website, OhioVet.gov, or call us at 1-877-OHIO-VET.
When you do so, you'll discover potential life-changing information such as mental health resources and guidelines for disability compensation.
We value all of our veterans, hold dear their service, and strive every day to bring them the care and guidance they need and so richly deserve.
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The Ohio Department of Aging is celebrating Older Americans Month with the theme: "Aging. It's Everybody's Business." All month long, we are turning our blog over to our many and various partners, from our sister state agencies to organizations and individuals working every day in our communities to build a stronger Ohio for all generations.
This article is presented for informational purposes and its posting here does not constitute an endorsement by the Department of Aging of the author, his or her organization or the opinions expressed.