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The Elderly Veteran, Service, Benefits, and the Community 

The Elderly Veteran, Service, Benefits, and the Community
The Elderly Veteran, Service, Benefits, and the Community

Luisa Skoble

, Jamison E. Rogers

, and Robert Kohn

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date: 08 December 2019

The U.S. veteran population is aging, with 47.3% being age 65 or older in 2013. This chapter addresses the mental health of older veterans and the services and benefits available to them. Among older veterans, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most commonly diagnosed disorder, followed by alcohol use disorders and major depression. Cognitive disorders also place increased demands on services. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides a broad array of mental health services across the full continuum of care. Older veterans, however, often do not connect with the VA (Veterans Administration) system until after retirement to take advantage of financial assistance offered by the VA, including service-connected disability pensions and healthcare. While the VA does not provide routine legal services to veterans, three elements of the justice system are available: (1) the Veterans Justice Outreach Program, (2) the Veterans Treatment Court, and (3) the Veterans Adjudication Process of Tort Claims. Also discussed in the chapter are goals identified by the Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care at the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve care for older veterans.

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