Skip to content
 

   

 

May 14 AARP Coronavirus Veterans Tele-Town Hall

How to navigate VA benefits and health services during the pandemic

AARP is hosting a regular series of Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Halls. Please bookmark this page and join us each Thursday for the latest information on the coronavirus by calling toll-free 855-274-9507.

May 14 Tele-Town Hall: Veterans

Experts answered your questions and addressed how to navigate benefits and health services through the VA and general health care providers. They shared information on how to coordinate caregiving support and stay connected to loved ones in VA long-term care facilities. They discussed managing your finances and accessing unemployment and stimulus payments. The experts also provided tips for protecting your well-being and staying sharp while handling stress, anxiety and other adverse effects of physical distancing. 

Listen to a replay of the event below.

Coronavirus: Veterans Tele-Town Hall

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 1 p.m. Veterans

Bill Walsh: Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Today is a special edition of our weekly conversation. We'll discuss the issues that U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans are facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and we'll address health, resources and finances. It's an important conversation if you, a loved one, friend or neighbor is an active duty, retired or former U.S. service member, so please stay with us. If you participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask your question, press *3.

Joining us today is Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.]. She is the chief veterans experience officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rashi Romanoff, vice president of programs and partnerships with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Koon, vice president of corporate [and] military business development at F&M Bank in the Clarksville, Tennessee, area. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today.

AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Veterans can also find COVID-19 resources and benefits at va.gov. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

Today, we're talking with experts about how you can protect your health and finances during the global coronavirus pandemic with a special emphasis on U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans and their families. Now before we bring in our guests I want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scammers continue to use the headlines as an opportunity to steal money or sensitive personal information, and we know from our own research that veterans are targeted by a large volume of scam attempts. As a result, veterans are twice as likely as the general population to lose money in a scam. If you're a veteran, a scammer may call you impersonating the VA Office of General Counsel to request payment to process your claims for benefits. Know that the VA will never request payment to carry out their mission to serve veterans. Also know that scammers are attempting to sell fake coronavirus cures, treatments and vaccines. Public health officials and private labs are working hard. At this time there is no publicly available vaccine, treatment or cure for COVID-19. So ignore offers that suggest otherwise. Visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about these and other scams, or call the Fraud Watch Network helpline at 877-908-3360, that's 877-908-3360. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. That's aarp.org/veterans.

Now, I'd like to welcome our first two guests, Dr. Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.] is dedicated to improving the experience of all those using the care and benefits of the VA. She is the chief veterans experience officer. Dr. Davis is nationally recognized for her leadership of services for military personnel, veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. She is the founder and CEO of the Military Veteran Caregiver Network (inaudible) and the CEO of the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. She is also a former clinician at a VA medical center, a former army signal officer and the mother of a veteran. Welcome, Dr. Davis.

Lynda Davis: Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be with you.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thanks for being with us. Next up is Rashi Romanoff. She is the vice president of programs and partnerships at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. She is an experienced healthcare professional and has worked at the VA from 2010 to 2017. She directed collaborative partnerships with the public and private sectors valued at more than $150 million. Most recently, she served as executive director of prevention and population health for America's health insurance plans. Welcome Rashi.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: So happy to be here.

Bill Walsh: We're happy to have you. Thank you both for joining us today. Let's go ahead and get started with the conversation. Dr. Davis, let's start with you. How have the experiences of combat veterans and military families changed with the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, and how is the VA responding to their needs?

Lynda Davis: Thank you very much again for this opportunity. As a veteran and the mother of a veteran and the survivor of several veterans who I have cared for, it's an honor to be at the VA, especially at a time like this when it's so important that we ensure the safety of our veterans and their families and the accessibility to the care that they need. You know, we have almost 19.2 million living veterans with us today. And more than 9 million of them are over the age of 65 and often have caregivers. We have about 20,000 caregivers of the 5.5 million in the country, enrolled in different VA programs. And right now we're trying to do everything possible to ensure their care remains the best in the country. The experiences of veterans are not just for combat veterans because not all veterans have experienced combat, but the experience of our veterans and their families are not unlike those of our civilians. That is that they are isolated, there are challenges with that isolation, with stress, access to the support services they need. For those who don't have coronavirus but are unable to get to a medical facility for their normal care, like a dialysis or a pharmacy replacement of their medications, the VA is reaching out through multiple ways to assist them, and some of them, which you mentioned. We are very fortunate to have that website, which provides everything that's needed, but sometimes people can't easily get to that.

So let me start out this conversation by highlighting our key number that's available 24/7 to all veterans and family members and friends. This is the White House VA hotline. The number is 855-948-2311. That is the most important number that they will need to answer any questions they have about the entire VA — 24/7 it is an answered by trained veterans and their family members. And if there are calls about accessing the clinical services in their particular medical center, the best number for them to call is 844-698-2311.

So what we're trying to do is ensure the safety of our veterans and their family members, whether they are experiencing the symptoms of COVID, or whether they are just trying to maintain their health. And I'll talk later about some of the ways in which we are doing that.

Bill Walsh: OK, well, thank you for that Dr. Davis and for those numbers. I'm going to repeat them right now, or perhaps you can, just to make sure we get them right and so our listeners can hear them. And just a note, 24 hours after this event, we'll have all of the resources on aarp.org/coronavirus. So Dr. Davis, can you just repeat those numbers and what they're for?

Lynda Davis: First of all, we have a 24/7 call line that is answered by veterans and their trained family members. And that will answer any question that a veteran or family member has about care or benefits or memorial services. That is 855-948-2311. We also have a number with specific questions related to clinical care and COVID-19. That is 844-698-2311. Finally, I'd like to mention that we have a number for caregivers of veterans, and that is answered from 8:00 to 8:00 Eastern Standard Time, 855-260-3274.

Bill Walsh: OK, and that's for caregiving related questions.

Lynda Davis: Yes sir.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Dr. Davis, I want to focus in a little bit on a particular dimension of VA service, and that's mental health. We know that mental health issues require constant vigilance, and the global pandemic has just elevated the level of anxiety and isolation for so many people. The VA is well-known as an innovator in telehealth. Can you talk a little bit about how VA mental health services are growing and changing to meet the needs of veterans today?

Lynda Davis: Yes, this is especially dear to my heart as a psychologist. The mental health capabilities of the VA have increased by about 750 percent recently as we've undertaken over a 100,000 telehealth appointments, many of them for mental and emotional health concerns. It is often that isolation and the stress leads us to have physical symptoms because we know that our entire wellness is based largely in part on our mental health, and these are very stressful times. We can find ourselves nervous about the safety of our loved ones far away. We can find ourselves stressed with people in a very small confined area, concerned about our ability to get our medications, etc. Our tele-mental health is specifically addressing these concerns. And each medical facility has the capability to provide the tele-mental health for veterans who maybe have been seeing a provider in the past or now need to have a provider. The ability to access those services is available through that hotline number I gave you earlier, the 844-698-2311 number. If someone is concerned about their health, their mental health, they just need to call that number and request an appointment with a mental health provider.

We do have as our VA facilities are returning to expanded services beyond our appropriately more narrow focus on COVID patients. We are able to serve, not only veterans and their family members in the community, through our vet centers, but we're able to call on our partner organizations and nonprofits; organizations like the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that provides services and support for the caregivers who themselves may be under stress. The Cohen Veterans Network that provides assistance to family members and small children. The small children of veterans are also able to receive assistance through the One Source program at the Department of Defense. Many of our AARP eligible veterans will be grandparents and they have concerns about their own children, or maybe the ones who are primary, the caregivers. So we encourage you to reach out to all of these resources and make sure you're well.

Bill Walsh: Well, thank you for that. Dr. Davis. Let's ask about caregivers. I wonder if you can tell us the latest information for people who have loved ones in VA nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Where can they go for information and resources?

Lynda Davis: Well, the VA is very fortunate to have a very robust, community facilities or what we call community living centers. They are not what you and I often think of when we think of nursing homes or rehabilitation centers or assisted living centers, some of which I'm using right now for loved ones. Our VA community living centers are really an extension of our hospitals. They are acute care centers with very extensive physician and nursing staff. They are very well monitored; they have restrictions on visitors right now except for certain compassionate care situations. These are connected to other services that may be needed like palliative care or even, at some point, hospice care. We have rigorous guidelines that have been put in place and they follow the CDC, and those veterans who have tested positive for coronavirus are isolated, but they are getting exceptional care there.

Now, one of the things, it's often confused that there are state veteran nursing homes, and by law, the VA has no authority to go into those unless the governor of a state invites us in. We have been going into several locations at that invitation to provide our own nursing staff to supplement those homes who have been unable to keep pace with the needs of their veterans. And we will continue to do that. We also offer home-based care; that has been a little bit more difficult to secure right now. But most of our veterans, of course, are not in these community living centers. They are at home with their loved ones, and they need assistance that's provided through the VA in conjunction with the Administration for Health and Human Services. We expect that the need for those kinds of home-based services will increase by 50 percent in the next 10 years as we age, and we are ready to support those needs for our veterans and their loved ones.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Let me bring Rashi Romanoff from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation into the conversation. Rashi, we know that older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the coronavirus. As a result, many caregivers are facing unprecedented challenges. What are some of the most critical concerns for military and veteran caregivers today?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Thanks so much, Bill, and thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to talk to the audience today a little bit about some issues that military and veteran caregivers are facing. And a huge thanks to Dr. Davis. She's been such a leader in this space, and rightly notes that when you think about military and veteran caregivers, research is telling us that nationally there's at least 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers out there nationally. And the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is solely focused on the needs of supporting systems and establishing resources and programs to really help these caregivers transition into these new roles and care for the veterans in their lives. I think Dr. Davis did a really great job outlining some specific challenges that the military and veteran community are facing at this time. You know, under the best of circumstances, I would say caregivers were already facing a number of challenges just getting through their day-to-day. And I think COVID-19 has obviously introduced a much more complex set of additional challenges and hurdles to cross.

When it comes to what are the most significant or critical concerns, in the early days, we at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation surveyed our caregivers and identified some top needs. And at a high level, the top needs really continue to be around medical supplies, peer and mental support, financial support and backup care. And I'll talk very briefly about each one.

On the supplies front, our data shows that upwards of 40 percent of our military and veteran caregivers are using medical supplies and personal protective equipment on a regular basis, things like medical gloves, masks, alcohol prep pads, distilled water. Not only are these now increasingly needed in healthcare settings, but oftentimes a lot of military and veteran caregivers that are providing quite complex care at home really need these items to make sure that they're providing safe and quality care at home. So in addition to not only being able to find these things, increasingly, the prices for these items have also gone up since there's such a dramatic spike in demand. So that's definitely been something that I think is a critical need for our community.

The second one that I would mention is increasingly that we're seeing needs around caregiver mental health and peer support. In recent days we've seen pretty large spikes in the increases for caregivers, mental health and behavioral health support. I think in the early days there was a lot of focus around veterans’ mental health, and I think that's evolving. I think for many of us in the country are on week six, seven, eight, nine of this crisis. And so a lot of those stresses or things that you've grown accustomed to have become more challenging. You're now doing this on an extended period of time. And so those are some of the new challenges that I think we're hearing about from our caregiver community.

Bill Walsh: Right, well in light of all those challenges, I wonder if you can address some of the common strategies that caregivers are using and share some resources that are available to them.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, absolutely. I would just say it's never really been more important for our country and our healthcare institutions to get caregiver support right. Increasingly across the nation, more and more people are not only going to be stepping up as caregivers and taking on these roles, but either as a result of COVID-19 or existing chronic conditions, we're also going to have new people stepping up to take on these roles. Our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus, has a full listing of resources available, and I encourage everyone to visit. I would also mention just a few weeks ago, we teamed up with AARP on a document to really outline a few strategies, and there are three things that I would highlight for the folks listening in today.

One, stock up and be prepared. I think a lot of us now are used to sort of making sure we're OK on our essential items and things like that. But also make sure you have a list of all of your medications, all of your medical contacts and any other important clinical information. Keep this on your fridge in the event that something comes up or you need to go and seek urgent medical care. Being prepared is really important. Number two, I would say, come up with your backup plan. What is your family's plan in the event that someone in your household gets infected? Where are they going to stay? How are you going to confine them to one location to reduce the risk of spread? I would definitely make sure you think through that. And three, find your community. For military and veteran caregivers we've always known that you can feel isolated and that's always been an issue. And now that we're all staying at home and self-isolating, it can really contribute and be an added stressor. So I would say, find a community. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation's Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is our digital platform based off of Facebook. It reaches thousands of caregivers and serves as a safe space for caregivers to seek advice and learn more about new resources. We just launched a new Caregiver Community Connections Series with our partners at the VA and with Wounded Warrior Project. And these are going to be different kinds of weekly webinars to talk about different issues that caregivers will find of interest. I think finding other caregivers and starting a dialogue and having that community to support you is really important right now.

Bill Walsh: All right, Rashi, some great advice there. And I know to our listeners, we're throwing a lot of resources at you, but just a reminder that tomorrow we'll be posting the recording of this event and all of the resources at aarp.org/coronavirus. And, also to our listeners, we're going to get to your calls in a second so please press *3 if you want to ask a question and get in the queue. Rashi, one other question. I wonder what the significance is when somebody like actor Tom Hanks tests positive for COVID-19? He was very open about his experience. How did that help bring awareness and hope to our veterans?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, you know, Tom Hanks is definitely a part of our Elizabeth Dole Foundation family. He served as a Hidden Heroes ambassador. In fact, it's kind of weird to think, I think this time last year we were in Indianapolis with him, doing some events for military families and celebrating them in Indiana. He's long had a great commitment to this sector and to this population, and it's been really great and creative to work with him.

I think when you think back to the really early days of this crisis, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were probably some of the earliest and most recognizable faces that were impacted by this disease. You might also recall that there was a lot of misinformation in the early days just about transmission and prevention strategies. And so I think, having someone like him test positive and share that so openly, it did two really, really important things, not just for our veteran and caregiver community, but really for our broader public health community, as well. One, I think it emphasized to the public that anybody, whether you're a celebrity or not, is at risk. If Tom Hanks can come down with this, it's really important that all of us take all of the precautions. And two, I think he used his platform, whether it was Twitter or social media or leveraging partners to really share really critical and useful information. The importance of taking quarantine really seriously, following the advice of the experts, the importance of protecting those who might be immunosuppressed, which is always of importance to our veteran and caregiver community. I think he used that platform really, really positively. It's weird to think that that only all happened just a couple months ago, but I think it really did shine national attention to it and got everyone thinking that we really have to take this seriously and anybody can be impacted.

Bill Walsh: Right. And gave people, I think, a lot of hope that he has come out the other side and has recovered and talking about that recovery, as well. So, well, thank you both, Rashi Romanoff and Dr. Davis. It's time now to address your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of Veterans Affairs and Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. We'll also be joined shortly by Charlie Coon of F&M Bank. He's here to address the financial fallout of the coronavirus and answer your questions.

I'd now like to address, introduce rather, AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. Welcome Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Thanks, Bill, I'm happy to be here for this important conversation.

Bill Walsh: OK. Who do we have on the line with us?

Jean Setzfand: We have Hazel from Oklahoma.

Bill Walsh: All right. Hazel, welcome. Go ahead with your question.

Hazel: I have a question. My husband is in the Claremore, Oklahoma Veteran's Facility. I would like to know if there is any plans to reopen it up.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thank you for that, Hazel. Dr. Davis, are you able to address that question from Hazel in Oklahoma?

Lynda Davis: Yes, Hazel. Thank you so much for the loving care I'm sure your husband is getting from you. And let me say that what we're doing now with all our VA medical facilities is we are looking at each one to see how we reopen. And those facilities that are less impacted by the number of people who have had COVID or are still there with COVID; those that will be the ones that open first. Let me, I'm very happy to find that specifically out and get back to you, if they can help us do that. But let me tell you again, the quickest way to find that out, Hazel, if you don't mind, is to call that 844-698-2311 number because they can tell you by facility, as well as they know it, when the reopenings … I won't say reopenings because none of our VA facilities have ever closed, but they have focused on the COVID services that are needed and not always been able to provide those other care that your husband may need. So, your safe care, your husband's safe care is our core mission and we want to transition back to that normal services as quickly as possible.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, I was wondering if there's any online resource that people can check to see the status of their local VA facilities?

Lynda Davis: Yes. So that's va.gov.

Bill Walsh: OK.

Lynda Davis: www.va.gov. But my experience, you get much richer conversation and additional resources, and perhaps even more up-to-date resources, if you take the time to talk to somebody.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Jean, who's next in the queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have Brandon from Ohio.

Bill Walsh: Hey Brandon, go ahead with your question. Hi, Brandon. Are you with us?

Brandon: Yes.

Bill Walsh: All right, go ahead with your question.

Brandon: I wanted to know what kind of resources are available to help both the veterans and especially our veteran caregivers, in ways that as individuals we can support those and support those resources.

Bill Walsh: OK. It sounds like a resource question. Dr. Davis, I know you've called out some resources. Maybe you could just refresh that and, maybe Rashi, if you have some suggestions on that as well.

Lynda Davis: Brandon, thank you very much for the care that you are providing to a veteran. Perhaps you're a veteran yourself, but we want to make sure that, as Rashi said, our caregivers are fully supported. We have a peer support service for veterans and also for caregivers. And if you can take the number down, I'll give it to you again. It's 1-800-342-9647. We have numerous services for caregivers including respite care, which means that somebody can assist you in delivering the services that are needed and give you or other loved ones a break. It can be very strenuous and stressful to care for a loved one 24/7. We also have the ability to have some home healthcare services come in to assist you. But the best way is to call that number I just gave you, or 877-222-8387, and they will assist you with the resources that you need.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: And Brandon, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Yeah, absolutely. One thing I would really recommend if you're a caregiver yourself is, register at our website at hiddenheroes.org. That's really the easiest way to get information about different resources that we have. I know I mentioned our Caregiver Community Connection Series. Another thing that we've been working on actually very closely with the VA is a spotlight series on really high priority topics that are impacting veterans and caregivers. So last month we did a whole session on accessing VA telehealth services, which is really important during this time. It was sort of a step-by-step of how you create an account, what different resources are available and then some really robust Q&A. On May 20, next week, actually on Wednesday, we're going to be doing a whole session with VA experts, along with our partners at Phillips, on whole healthcare resources and self-care resources available to veterans and families during this time. So I would really recommend, there's a lot out there; hidden heroes.org is a great place to get started and registering there will get you direct links to all of these different resources.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Thank you both for those suggestions. Jean, who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: We have a question coming in from YouTube, from Jeffrey. It's a two-part question. So, let me read this for you. "The VA system is deferring most non-emergency medical care, and I and other vets are waiting for non-emergency care. Our vets are seeing health issues worsen by these delays. And as a follow-up, the question continues to say, "Because I'm an Illinois resident who received care from Missouri, my therapist cannot meet me via telehealth. They're licensed to practice only in the state of Missouri. So I think this is a question around the VA system. Thank you.”

Bill Walsh: Hmm. Very good. Dr. Davis, are you able to handle those? So just as a refresher, Jeffrey was asking about non-emergency care, and have we seen the condition of veterans worsen as those things have been deferred?

Lynda Davis: Jeffrey, thank you for this question. His question is very, very relevant, and just like with Hazel's concern about her husband, getting access to his local facility, first of all, our concern is the safe return, so to speak, of our veterans to their local medical facilities or community-based clinic or veteran clinic. What we're doing to supplement the care of our veterans during this time when the focus is understandably so much on COVID services, we're making sure that we utilize other authorities that we have through things like community care, through the Mission Act and care in the community. We are able to support veterans in seeing practitioners in the community, and we are working with them. Those are services that are authorized and reimbursed with the VA, but they're able to be done through non-VA clinicians. So, also if there is emergency care needed or urgent care needed, urgent care now is certainly covered. And that can be obtained by any veteran at one of the urgent care facilities or their emergency room or at our VA medical centers. They are always open to take in emergency situations.

With regard to the telehealth, tele-mental health, it is unfortunate that there are still restrictions because of licensure for people to practice across state lines. We are working on that, and in the meantime, if you need to receive support from a different clinician than the one that you were accustomed to, again, I ask you please to reach out, Brandon, to 1-844-698-2311. There are also numerous peer support programs through organizations like the American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Disabled Veterans of America, Paralyzed American Veterans and also the Wounded Warrior Project.

Bill Walsh: OK, Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Thanks for all these questions. Jean, who's next in line to ask a question?

Jean Setzfand: We have Jasmine from Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Jasmine, go ahead with your question.

Jasmine: Hi. Yes, my question is in regards to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. I was just wondering if you could explain more about the programs that are available for military and veteran caregivers, and what I can do now as a caregiver, in order to get involved with the foundation during COVID-19?

Bill Walsh: Rashi Romanoff, can you handle that question from Jasmine?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, absolutely. I would definitely encourage you … there's two ways that I think you can get involved right now if you're a military and veteran caregiver. One is to join our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community, which is our Facebook group. It's a really great place to share advice, to seek guidance, just to talk with other military and veteran caregivers that are out there. Some of the questions that have come in just about accessing telehealth or some of the state by state issues; a lot of those same questions are being asked in that community. And what I love about our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is that it's a great opportunity to get intel sort of from other caregivers themselves that have queried the same issues. So that's something you can do right now. At hiddenheroes.org, if you register there as well, all of this content that we've been pushing out with our partners at the VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Phillips and others, we're really trying to think of new and creative content ideas. Last week we did a healthy eating and cooking demonstration for people at home. We also talked a little bit about breathing strategies and exercises you can use to cope with stress. This afternoon, actually, we're going to be talking with Operation Gratitude a little bit about virtual volunteerism efforts. And so, I think what's important to note is that, Jasmine, right now folks need a wide range of different kinds of support. Some people need really specific kinds of clinical care support. Others are looking for things to do with their families or ways to give back. And so we're trying to curate content that really focuses on all of those different needs. And we want to work with our caregiving community to create more content and to work with our partners to answer some of these challenging questions of the day.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thanks for that, Rashi. Let's go back to our questions. Jean, who is next in the queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have Rebecca from Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Rebecca. Go ahead with your question.

Rebecca: Hello. My husband has previously had his hearing aids serviced in Wyoming at the facility there. The other option would be to go to Loveland, both of which are equally as far away from us. We live in a very small town in the Northeastern plains of Colorado. And his rechargeable hearing aid batteries are dead. They have told me previously that they didn't ship those to the home and what can we do now? Because he's been without a hearing aid for quite some time.

Bill Walsh: All right, Rebecca, thank you for that question. Dr. Davis, can you address Rebecca's concerns?

Lynda Davis: Well, I certainly hope I can. I'm so sorry for that inconvenience, Rebecca. That's a real tough situation for your husband and for you. Not to sound like a broken record, but these are extraordinary circumstances, and being able to transport something to you under these conditions is what we are trying to find ways to do. We do not rely simply on our own ability to do that. We work very closely with other partners, including the Red Cross. Again, if the AARP team will get your information, I will follow up with you from the VA, but if you can call the 844-698-2311 number and tell them specifically that it is urgent that you get those hearing aids and that you need to have them provided to you, I know they will do everything possible. Let me tell you my specific email address, so that you or anyone else on this call who has a concern can reach me. My name is Lynda.Davis@va.gov. If you send me your concern, just like we're going to look into the Oklahoma facility opening, we will do everything we can to assure you get the assistance that you need.

Bill Walsh: Excellent. Dr. Davis, thanks so much for that. And to our listeners, you've heard a lot of resources mentioned here today, so tomorrow, all of these resources will be on aarp.org/coronavirus. So if you missed the phone number or website, look at AARP's website tomorrow and it will be there.

So, at this time I'd like to take a moment to give you a brief update on what AARP has been doing to protect older Americans during this pandemic. We are focused on three key coronavirus related priorities: transparency and protections for nursing home staff and residents, access to necessary food and nutrition and support for state and local governments. More than 20,000 COVID-19 facilities, fatalities, I'm sorry, have occurred in our nation's long-term care facilities accounting for 1 of every 4 reported coronavirus deaths. AARP state offices are focusing much of their attention on keeping residents and staff safe in these facilities. We've pushed to improve protective equipment and increased testing availability. We have also advocated to address staffing shortages and required transparency at facilities with known infections, and increasing access to virtual visitation for residents such as video chats. AARP's efforts have already resulted in dozens of policy changes. COVID-19 will continue to be a major threat to residents of long-term care facilities for the foreseeable future, and AARP’s advocacy is crucial. The efforts and success would not be possible, however, without the phone calls, emails and actions from AARP members, volunteers and older adults across the country. So thank you for all of that support.

Let's hear more from our guests. Let's get into the financial impact of the coronavirus on households and businesses. And for that, we'd like to welcome today, Charlie Koon. Charlie is the vice president of F&M Bank. He serves as a business development liaison between F&M Bank and the military community in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He works with active duty soldiers, veterans and their families. He is committed to economic progress and growth at the local, state and national levels. Previously, he served as the director of workforce and economic development, as well as the liaison between new and expanding industries and the Tennessee Department of Labor, local American job centers, workforce essentials and existing businesses. Thanks for being with us today, Charlie.

Charlie Koon: Yes, sir. Good to be here. It's been a pleasure to just be on the line with you guys and listen to all the resources that are available. And hopefully, I can help out a little bit. And I'm going to do like Dr. Davis. At some point, I'll give out my email address because there may be a question I can't give you the precise answer, but I'm happy to dig into it and find out whatever we need to find out.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Well, Charlie, let's get into some questions for you. You know the coronavirus has been a major financial blow to so many households across the country. What can veterans do about bills and debt in light of the sudden crisis? Are there special relief programs or appeals available to extend or reduce copays, VA-backed home loans and other debts at this time?

Charlie Koon: You know, there are some things locally and I know we've got people all across the country. So the first thing I would say is use your VA resources. And I know Dr. Davis has spoken a lot about what the VA does, but they have implemented some programs to help with debt and healthcare debts, and benefit debts. So they've suspended all actions on veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department. And they're suspending collection action, extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts. So the VA is definitely a great resource. And if I could give out a couple of phone numbers ...

Bill Walsh: Yes, please do.

Charlie Koon: … for benefit debt questions, 1-800-827-0648, and for healthcare debt questions, 888-827-4817. Now, we have a lot of these questions; we have people coming into our bank and other financial institutions have them as well, and there's a couple of things that I would recommend. If you know your banker or your financial advisor, I would definitely talk to them about some resources because there are so many, they're hard to list, but there are so many locally that might apply to veterans and their families. I would definitely find somebody that I trust, somebody that I've worked with, banked with or my financial advisor to get some local answers.

Bill Walsh: OK. And Charlie, are you finding that lenders are being more open to extending terms and payback deadlines and whatnot?

Charlie Koon: Yes, sir. You know, that's decided on a per institution basis. But there are many, many credit unions, banks that are being lenient, either deferring payment or helping with lowering payments just to keep people on track.

Bill Walsh: OK. All right, Charlie, given the impact of the coronavirus on small businesses and communities, what do veterans most need to know about preserving their employment or businesses? And how can veterans help each other?

Charlie Koon: Well, I would say about preserving employment is speak with your employer. We see it a lot here in Tennessee. A lot of people have been furloughed or laid off, but I really believe the economy's going to turn around probably sooner rather than later. There'll be some short-term pains, but if you stay in touch with your employer, I believe your job will probably be secure unless there's some unfortunate circumstances.

There are veteran network groups, and I'm sure you're aware of a lot of them, but get involved in veteran network groups in your community. There are different ways that they can help support you, give you information and just kind of help you through these trying times.

Bill Walsh: OK. Let me throw another question at you, Charlie. There's been so many questions to us about the stimulus checks. I'm wondering if the stimulus checks or extra employment payments have any impact on veteran benefits.

Charlie Koon: They do not. They're not supposed to have any impact on that whatsoever. So, I think you're fine. I think everybody will be fine that received one as a veteran.

Bill Walsh: OK. All right, well, thank you for that, Charlie, and we'll come back with some more questions from our listeners. But before we return to your questions, I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Davis and all our callers today who have served our country in the U.S. Armed Forces. Armed Forces Day/Week was created in the wake of the consolidation of military services under the United States Department of Defense and was first observed 70 years ago on May 20, 1950. Next week, our nation formerly honors all six branches of the U.S. military and traditionally offers weeklong activities to remember past and present service in all branches. While these activities will be muted, our times and the sacrifices by medical professionals only remind us of the valor and sacrifice of active duty personnel and veterans. There's no greater honor than service to country and AARP appreciates and honors those who have served, particularly on Memorial Day, those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. Today and every day, we salute you for your service.

It's now time to take more of your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of the VA, Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Coon with F&M Bank. Jean, who do we have up next?

Jean Setzfand: We have David from Coachella, California.

Bill Walsh: All right. Dave from California, go ahead with your question.

David: Yes. I was asking the young lady from AARP about; I had some identity theft issues prior to retirement. And so I froze all my credit bureaus. It's so difficult to try to refinance or readjust your VA loan if you can't reach the credit bureaus. They're so difficult. Even with pin numbers that they gave to me when I first froze my accounts, or froze my credit, you can get one, but you can't get the other two. It's a very difficult situation. There's very limited people that you can access. Same thing with the post office. You can't mail stuff because it's going to take 10 times longer to get there. So, I mean, I don't understand how are we supposed to help correct our financial instabilities when we can't even get through the credit bureau.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Well, it's a challenging time for all businesses, but Charlie, I wonder if you might help David. Are there any tips for getting through to the three credit bureaus to address credit issues?

Charlie Koon: You know that's a really challenging question, and I've really not faced that before, but what I would like to offer him is if he were to reach out to me, I will find those answers and then supply them back to the AARP to distribute amongst your members. I'd want to give as accurate of answer as I can, and I just don't have that information.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, do you have any insight on that? Does the Veterans Affairs have any tips on how to get through to the credit bureaus?

Lynda Davis: Let me suggest that, especially if this is interfering with your access to any of your veteran’s benefits in any way, we do have a hotline specifically for that. And that number is 800-827-1000. That's for the benefits hotline. I will also raise this with our Veterans Benefit Administration, because I'm sure it's a question and a challenge other veterans besides yourself are experiencing. There's one other place that we can go. The federal government now has a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and they are specifically there to address the concerns of American citizens about things like identity fraud and financial theft of their information. They have a specific office that is dedicated to military service members and veterans and their financial identity and wholeness and the protection of that. I do not have the number right now. I'm going to look it up, but I'm sure that our AARP colleagues will make sure that by the time that they post tomorrow that they have the Division for Military and Veterans under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I hope they can help you too.

Bill Walsh: Yes, I'm sure right now my AARP colleagues are looking up those resources. If we don't get it before the end of the call, it'll be on aarp.org/coronavirus tomorrow. Jean, let's take another call.

Jean Setzfand: We have Bernard from North Carolina.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Bernard. Go ahead with your question.

Bernard: Yes, I'm a blind veteran. My question is, I have an appointment upcoming June 22 and I need transportation. I need to know, is the facility still providing transportation to veterans that need it?

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you for that question, Bernard. Dr. Davis or Rashi, are you able to address that?

Lynda Davis: Can I understand that the question is for your upcoming appointment, can you still get assistance with transportation to the facility? And if that's the case, sir, we want to make sure that you don't miss your appointment. Oftentimes our transportation is provided by Disabled Veterans of America. They run many of our shuttles for our veterans. So the best way to determine when and if they're operating is to make sure that we get the information for your local facility. I can find that for you if someone will connect us, or we can call the 844-698-2311 number, and they will make sure that you have transportation.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you, Dr. Davis for that. Jean, who's next in the questioning queue?

Jean Setzfand: I have a call from Miriam from Washington.

Bill Walsh: Miriam, go ahead.

Miriam: My question is my father is a veteran, and I have a question if there are any resources to find a cell phone service and/or internet service, that is available, that is less expensive, without having to prove that one is extremely low-income? We have a lot of expenses, health expenses, and wanted to know if the VA has any resources or anyone else.

Bill Walsh: OK. Dr. Davis, do you want to take a crack at that, and Rashi, if you have anything to add, please do.

Lynda Davis: Yes, Miriam. Not having the access the internet and cell phone services is not only inconvenient, it can be life threatening. And we are currently in negotiation with the major carriers, and I won't name one because if I forget one then I'll be in trouble. But all of the major carriers are working with our Office of Strategic Programs to ensure the rates and the coverage for all broadband is available for all veterans, including those in very remote areas, like Alaska and the Yukon Territories, etc., in Guam. We want to make sure that everyone can reach their provider and have access to telehealth. So, I want to make sure we look at how we have the most affordable access to the internet for your family. And again, I can get you some information about what specific program to use. And I can also ask you to, if you can call our hotline number at 855-948-2311, tell them your problem, they will get back to you with an answer and a way to address it. And they will let us know how quickly they've responded to you.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: And Bill, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Miriam, thanks so much for the question. Definitely please, if there's a way that we can reach out to you following the call through AARP, I want to talk to you a little bit more about this. You know, we have partnerships, both with AT&T and Comcast, where they're both doing offerings. It sort of depends on where you live and exactly what's available, but would love to connect you with that. You know, I know our partners at Comcast have started offering their internet essentials package much more broadly given that a lot of people are at home right now and internet access is really key, particularly for veterans and accessing telehealth appointments and things like that. So we have some great resources and would love to connect you directly with those providers. And you can feel free to email me, I'm rashi@elizabethdolefoundation.org., or I'll sort of work with Bill and the team to get your contact information afterwards, as well.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you both for that. And David from California, you had a question a few minutes back about reaching the credit bureaus and one of our guests suggested reaching out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They actually have some pretty robust information for service members and credit. And so you can reach them at 855-411-2372, that's 855-411-2372. You can also reach them online at consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers. And again, all of these resources will be available at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow. OK, Jean, you have another question for us?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. This is Thomas from Washington.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead with your question, Thomas.

Thomas: Hi. I have 160 percent SMC rating and I haven't been able to get my stimulus payment, or I have a HELOC, and I can't get that transferred into my GI Bill to get a loan. So I've been trying everything in the world, but I just can't make the connection.

Bill Walsh: OK. Charlie, do you want to see if you can address Thomas's question?

Charlie Koon: Yeah. He kind of broke up on my end. I didn't hear his question. Could you repeat that?

Bill Walsh: Well, he started off saying that he had 160 percent SMC rating, but he's having trouble getting a stimulus check. He's also having trouble accessing his home equity line of credit. I'm wondering if we can give him some tips and resources to address that. It sounds like he's in a tight financial spot right now.

Charlie Koon: Yeah, I would, as far as the stimulus check, if he, well, he can't get online. If somebody could get online to go to irs.gov/coronavirus, there's a way you can click on there, put your information on it, and it will tell you how and when your check should come if you have not received it. If he has a home equity line of credit, he should be able to use that already unless he's maxed out on that. So we would need more information on his home equity line of credit, but if he has any room on there at all, he should be able to use it.

Bill Walsh: OK. And we too have been referring people to irs.gov for updates on their stimulus checks. Jean, who is next in the questioning queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have a call from Richard from New Jersey.

Bill Walsh: All right, Richard. Go ahead with your question.

Richard: My question is, I'm the caretaker of my wife. She has Alzheimer's, and I filed for assistance through the VA. It's been about approximately 10 months now. And whenever I filed it, not a month later, the lady that filed it for me says it was approved. Now, since then, I haven't heard a word.

Bill Walsh: Hmm. And how long ago, was that when you ...

Richard: About 10 months ago now.

Bill Walsh: ... heard that it was approved? It was 10 months ago since you heard that it was approved.

Richard: No, I'd say nine months ago.

Bill Walsh: Nine to 10 months. Dr. Davis, can you address Richard's concern.

Lynda Davis: Absolutely Richard. I am very glad that you were approved, and you got confirmation of that. Did you get something also in writing?

Bill Walsh: Richard, are you still on the line? I think he may not be.

Lynda Davis: OK.

Bill Walsh: It sounds like somebody told him that it was approved.

Lynda Davis: OK, yeah, and that's always good news to hear positive news, but it's always important for us to make sure we receive things in writing when we're talking about federal or state public benefits. So for Richard, or anyone else who has a challenge with payments, even Thomas who was talking about trying to make sure that he got his stimulus checks, our Veterans Benefits Administration will look into issues like this for you. And their number again is 800-827-1000. But our hotline specifically is designed 24/7 to do case management. If you tell us your name and just a little bit of information, we will not rest until we track down the source or the status of your benefit application and understand what needs to be done, if anything, to make sure you get access to the benefits that you deserve. So that hotline number is 855-948-2311.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Richard, again, if you were just trying to copy that down, it was 855-948-2311. Just a quick question to follow up on that. I'm wondering if it's possible to get paid for taking care of loved ones who are veterans.

Lynda Davis: Absolutely, it is. Congress has passed a law. Beginning in 2009, they began to understand the importance, even more so, of the critical role that family members play as caregivers. Many times our veterans who are wounded, ill or injured, do not want to be in a medical facility or assisted-living, but they want to be home with their family, understandably. And so we now have programs, a program of comprehensive assistance for family that provides stipends to those family members or even friends who have a commitment to care for an eligible veteran who has the inability to perform some of the activities of daily living. And the caregiver line that I provided earlier is the number to call to get information on that. Also again, the hotline that I just gave out, 855-948-2311, saying that I'd like information on all the programs available to assist family members who are caregivers of a veteran. They will provide you that. But there are stipends available for those who qualify, and we'll be expanding those in the coming year to caregivers of veterans who were injured before 9/11. Currently it's just 9/11 veterans, so our population of AARP individuals like myself, who are older veterans, we would not yet be eligible. But we will be very soon. And it's a wonderful program to assist family members.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very, very good. And it's great to hear that. Jean, who's next in the queue?

Jean Setzfand: We have Antoinette from South Florida.

Bill Walsh: Yeah. Hi, Antoinette. Go ahead with your question.

Antoinette: It's more of a comment. Everybody is concerned about nursing homes, and they should be. But there's also over 55 communities, condominiums that no one checks on, even if you have it through your health insurance. There's really nothing happening to look after us to make sure that we're getting food, that they're sanitizing the areas properly. Now, the young woman that I spoke to said, did I tell my management company? I wouldn't make these statements if they followed through on things. But it's something to look into. There a lot of people here that are way over 90, and my father was a veteran. There are a lot of veterans here. And you know, we're inside, so we don't get as much information as when we traveled out, gone shopping. But it should be noted that these communities that are way over 55, they don't seem to be doing much as far as keeping us as safe as they should. That's all I have to say.

Bill Walsh: Antoinette, I just want to ask you before you drop off, are you talking about an assisted-living facility or are you just talking about a complex with older people?

Antoinette: No, over 55, a complex that's been around for a long time. And again, people live longer and everybody's here a long time. I'm 77. My father lived to be 90, my mother, 95. And people are staying, living, aging in place. I guess that's what's troubling — the aging in place and not having the safety that we should have.

Bill Walsh: Right. OK, Antoinette, thanks for that. I wonder if Rashi, do you have any thoughts on Antoinette's comment? Really, she's asking about, I guess, oversight and assistance outside of a nursing home or assisted living location; just where older folks are living in apartments or whatever. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, and thanks so much for raising that, Antoinette. I think, obviously, from like a who has authority, I know within housing there's different local authorities and agencies that have requirements around safety and living conditions. I will say, that's probably more of the official answer. And I don't have specifics about what might be available in South Florida, but I think the comment you raise is really important. And I think it's important for all of us to keep in mind and really reinforces, I think, not only the trends with individuals and baby boomers and all getting older, but recognizing that a lot of folks are now, as you said, aging in place or they're not necessarily going to institutions. They might be moving in with family members or staying in different kinds of condominium situations. Obviously, we're seeing from the caregiver perspective, a lot more people stepping up to help grandparents and parents as they age, so I think a lot of the issues you're raising are really important ones. Obviously COVID-19 has introduced a wide set of challenges for a number of different industries. And I think as a result of this, a lot of different groups are going to be thinking about, how are we really protecting those Americans that are aging in place, and how are we getting resources to them, whether it's everything from grocery supplies to cleanliness in apartment buildings. I think everything's going to be on the table as we think about ways to do a lot of this better.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you for that. Jean, who do we have up next?

Jean Setzfand: We have Elaine from New York.

Bill Walsh: Hey Elaine, go ahead with your question.

Elaine: Yes. Nice to talk to you, I'm enjoying your program very, very much, Bill Walsh. Dr. Davis, I have a question regarding Vietnam vets. I come from a long line of veterans who have deceased and also my own father was a veteran, and he was cared for at the VA hospital in San Albans, Queens. Had to be coming home from the war, and he wound up getting a leukemia and passed away eventually in that hospital. But my question is, what is the parameter requirement for getting dental service? You know, if you have bad teeth, a veteran, I'm talking about, that was in Vietnam.

Bill Walsh: So, Dr. Davis, can you talk a little bit about dental service? And she was asking about the parameters, the requirements, probably income thresholds, etc., that you need to meet in order to get those dentist services.

Lynda Davis: Thank you very much for your service through your family's service. Let me just say that eligibility for VA care is not connected first and foremost in any way to income. What we first, to determine eligibility for the levels of care, it depends on when the individual served, and in this case, it sounds like certainly service during the Vietnam era qualifies someone for our benefits. And you're probably already receiving ... is your loved one already receiving healthcare from the VA?

Bill Walsh: Elaine is not on the line.

Lynda Davis: OK. So first of all, if someone is not yet, encourage them to enroll. The fastest way to enroll is to go right now because you're not going to be walking into your facility yet. I'm not sure where she is in Florida.

Bill Walsh: She's in New York, actually.

Lynda Davis: Oh, OK. The last caller, Antoinette was in Florida. And I would encourage Antoinette to reach out to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs also, or even the local VA medical center to ask about, especially if she can express her concern for the safety of veterans and family members in her apartment complex. But for New York and our Vietnam-veteran family member, if you're not yet enrolled, the healthcare coverage does include dental in almost all cases. And so we want to make sure that your loved one is enrolled. The best way to do that right now is to call the 855-948-2311 number, and they will help determine the eligibility. And then we'll direct you to the ways to get the dental care. Most facilities have that dental care available at the same location. Some have to refer to. If you are not near a facility that offers a service you need — dental extraction, for instance, or braces or dentures — we will refer you out to the community near you to get those services, and they will be paid for through the VA. So we want to make sure, especially nutrition becomes such a challenge as we age, and it's important to be able to have good, good dental hygiene. So that's a great question.

Bill Walsh: OK, Dr. Davis, thanks for that answer. So Elaine, it sounds like starting at the hotline might be your best starting place to find out the parameters for dental coverage. Jean, who is next up for a question?

Jean Setzfand: We have Mary from L.A.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Mary, go ahead with your question. Go ahead, Mary. Mary, are you on the line with us?

Jean Setzfand: Sounds like we might've lost her.

Bill Walsh: OK, well maybe we can take whoever was next in line.

Jean Setzfand: All right. We have Carl from Pennsylvania.

Bill Walsh: Hey Carl, go ahead with your question for our panel.

Carl: I have, two questions I'd like to ask on the transportation. The drivers that are driving the veterans from their facility to their apartment. I would like to know, do those drivers has their temperature taken every day? Do they wear masks? The other thing that I would like to know, do they clean their vehicles when they get through?

Bill Walsh: OK, that's a good question for Dr. Davis about the drivers and the vehicles that are transporting veterans to and from facilities. Are the drivers monitored for COVID, and what's being done to keep those vehicles clean?

Lynda Davis: Carl, that is a great question whether you're in Pennsylvania or in Texas. As I mentioned earlier, we are expanding the services to what they used to be with one primary thing in mind, and that is safety. So as we open up and get you back to depending and using the services of these drivers, the cleanliness of their vehicles, and our working with groups like the Disabled Veterans of America, will be priority number one. Given your great question, Carl, and our need to assure that our external partners, whether they're one of our veteran service organizations or whether we're relying on private transportation, that those are 100 percent reliable in terms of their cleanliness. I'm going to take this question right now back to both our benefits and our health undersecretaries and say that you want to make sure that's the case, Carl, and I will call the Disabled Veterans of America and make sure that they have all the arrangements to take care of that.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you very much for that, Dr. Davis. Jean, do we have another question?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we do. We have Lydia from Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hi, Lydia, go ahead with your question.

Lydia: Hi, good afternoon. My name is Lydia Rivera. I'm calling from Tampa, Florida. I am a caregiver to my mom. She's 90 years old. And I'm wondering how can caregiver volunteers support all their caregivers and are there any local resources or initiatives available to caregivers?

Bill Walsh: OK, we have a caregiving question. Rashi, do you want to tackle that one?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, Lydia. It's actually a very timely question. And at 4:00 Eastern today, we're actually going to be hosting a whole webinar session on virtual volunteerism opportunities, later on today. So I hope you can dial in and if not. happy to connect you with some of the information following. We've been hearing, on a personal note, just really amazing stories about caregivers and military families doing a lot to help others during this time of need. Our foundation has our Dole Caregiver Fellows program, and a number of our fellows have been doing things like designing masks and hand-sewing masks to send out to other folks. And so I think there's been really exciting things, and we've been trying to share all of those opportunities through our networks and through our different platforms. And so at 4:00 today, we're actually going to be talking a little bit about a virtual volunteerism activity that folks can be doing with their families. You mentioned locally what you can be doing. I would recommend, we have a Hidden Heroes Cities Program at the foundation, and you can feel free to reach out to us to get you involved. But across the country, we're trying to activate local cities and local counties to do more to create local systems of support for caregivers and for military families in those communities. Oftentimes, nationally, it can be really hard to get things done. But once you go into a local community and work with your mayor or your county officials, it can be really creative and a really great relationship to build up. Also, your local VA, and so definitely reach out to us because we'd love to get you involved in the work that we have ongoing in Tampa and see if there's ways that we can do some volunteer activities there.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you, Rashi, for that. And we are coming to the end of our show. I wanted to thank Dr. Lynda Davis, Rashi Romanoff and Charlie Coon. This has been a really informative session. I hope our listeners have gotten a lot out of it. I wanted to thank each of you for answering our questions, and I want to invite you to offer any closing thoughts or recommendations. Dr. Davis, do you want to start us off?

Lynda Davis: Thank you very much. I appreciate this opportunity, Bill, most of all to talk to my AARP members like myself and also to veterans and veteran loved ones. Thank you for your service and those who support those who have served. I want to just leave you with one thing: our pledge to provide the best, highest quality care benefits and memorial services to all of you stands. You will see even an improved VA capability to do that going forward — a lot more virtual services there in your home community as we transition and ensure that your safety remains the highest priority. I want to urge you to remember just a couple key numbers. One, always the bottom line, if you have a concern, is the hotline — 855-948-2311. For any questions related to COVID and the virus, 844-698-2311. And please, please, if anyone is in crisis or concerned about your physical safety or harm to self or others, we have a veteran's crisis line 24/7. That's 800-273-8255. Please be safe, stay well and we look forward to celebrating or recognizing and remembering those loved ones who are no longer with us on Memorial Day.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you so much for that. Dr. Davis. Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, any closing thoughts or recommendations for our listeners?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Yes. Thank you so much, Bill, and thanks so much to all of the questions that came in. It was really great and such a geographic diversity as well. In closing, I think it's a really tough time I think for all Americans, but it's a really particularly tough time for military families. And to all the military and veteran caregivers out there, we recognize that many of you are under tremendous amounts of stress and are really triaging, whether it's having kids at home, or more older people at home or having to coordinate a lot of clinical care via telehealth and all these different modalities. We know it can be a really challenging time, and I think I just want to impart that they're not alone and the people at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation are really here for you. So one thing I would leave everyone with is to visit our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus. There's a ton of different resources there that are available to you. There's also just an open question opportunity. So at the point that anyone has questions or wants to reach out, you can always email us after this call, and we can try to help you get support as well. So thanks so much.

Bill Walsh: OK, Rashi, thank you so much. And Charlie Coon of F&M Bank, any closing thoughts?

Charlie Koon: Yes sir, Bill. Well, first I want to thank you and AARP for the great resources that you provide to our veterans and their families. And I'd also like to thank our veterans and families for everything they do for us because what we do would not be possible without the support from them. So thank you for that. I ditto what Dr. Davis and Rashi have said. You know, these are tough, unique times, and there's not a one-shoe-fits-all to solve all these issues. So I would just recommend to reach out to your local financial institution and try to find some local support. And if you can't find that, feel free to contact me at charlie.koon@myfmbank.com, and I will do my best to find out the answers that you need. So thank you all very much for this opportunity.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you, Charlie. And thank you to all of our expert panelists, and thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. And in the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. As I've said before, all the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on May 8 [15]. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy today. I want to let you all know, we have a couple of special conversations coming up. Be sure to join us tonight, 7:00 p.m. ET for a conversation with TV personalities and lifestyle experts Ty Pennington of the “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” Carl Hall of “America's Top Chef” and Matt Paxton of “Hoarders.” They will share how we can make the most of our extended time at home while physical distancing and sheltering-in-place orders continue. And next Thursday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET, we'll have a special discussion with Academy Award-winning actress Susan Lucci and AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. Thank you for listening. This concludes our call.

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 1 p.m. Veterans

Bill Walsh:  Hello. I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. Today is a special edition of our weekly conversation. We'll discuss the issues that U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans are facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and we'll address health, resources and finances. It's an important conversation if you, a loved one, friend or neighbor is an active duty, retired or former U.S. service member, so please stay with us. If you participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show, and you have the opportunity to ask questions live. If you'd like to ask a question, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask your question, press *3.

[00:01:39] Joining us today is Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.] . She is the chief veterans experience officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rashi Romanoff, vice president of programs and partnerships with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Koon, vice president of corporate [and] military business development at F&M Bank in the Clarksville, Tennessee, area. We'll also be joined by my AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today.

[00:02:12] AARP is convening this tele-town hall to help you access information about coronavirus. While we see an important role for AARP in providing information and advocacy related to the coronavirus, you should be aware that the best source of health and medical information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be reached at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Veterans can also find COVID-19 resources and benefits at va.gov. This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up.

[00:02:55] Today, we're talking with experts about how you can protect your health and finances during the global coronavirus pandemic with a special emphasis on U.S. Armed Forces, active duty and veterans and their families. Now before we bring in our guests I want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scammers continue to use the headlines as an opportunity to steal money or sensitive personal information, and we know from our own research that veterans are targeted by a large volume of scam attempts. As a result, veterans are twice as likely as the general population to lose money in a scam. If you're a veteran, a scammer may call you impersonating the VA Office of General Counsel to request payment to process your claims for benefits. Know that the VA will never request payment to carry out their mission to serve veterans. Also know that scammers are attempting to sell fake coronavirus cures, treatments and vaccines. Public health officials and private labs are working hard. At this time there is no publicly available vaccine, treatment or cure for COVID-19. So ignore offers that suggest otherwise. Visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork to learn more about these and other scams, or call the Fraud Watch Network helpline at 877-908-3360, that's 877-908-3360. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. That's aarp.org/veterans.

[00:04:55] Now, I'd like to welcome our first two guests, Dr. Lynda Davis, M.D. [Ph.D.] is dedicated to improving the experience of all those using the care and benefits of the VA. She is the chief veterans experience officer. Dr. Davis is nationally recognized for her leadership of services for military personnel, veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. She is the founder and CEO of the Military Veteran Caregiver Network [inaudible] and the CEO of the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. She is also a former clinician at a VA medical center, a former army signal officer and the mother of a veteran. Welcome, Dr. Davis.

[00:05:44]Lynda Davis:  Good afternoon. It's a pleasure to be with you.

[00:05:47]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thanks for being with us. Next up is Rashi Romanoff. She is the vice president of programs and partnerships at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. She is an experienced healthcare professional and has worked at the VA from 2010 to 2017. She directed collaborative partnerships with the public and private sectors valued at more than $150 million. Most recently, she served as executive director of prevention and population health for America's health insurance plans. Welcome Rashi.

[00:06:21]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  So happy to be here.

[00:06:23]Bill Walsh:  We're happy to have you. Thank you both for joining us today. Let's go ahead and get started with the conversation. Dr. Davis, let's start with you. How have the experiences of combat veterans and military families changed with the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, and how is the VA responding to their needs?

[00:06:48]Lynda Davis:  Thank you very much again for this opportunity. As a veteran and the mother of a veteran and the survivor of several veterans who I have cared for, it's an honor to be at the VA, especially at a time like this when it's so important that we ensure the safety of our veterans and their families and the accessibility to the care that they need. You know, we have almost 19.2 million living veterans with us today. And more than 9 million of them are over the age of 65 and often have caregivers. We have about 20,000 caregivers of the 5.5 million in the country, enrolled in different VA programs. And right now we're trying to do everything possible to ensure their care remains the best in the country. The experiences of veterans are not just for combat veterans because not all veterans have experienced combat, but the experience of our veterans and their families are not unlike those of our civilians. That is that they are isolated, there are challenges with that isolation, with stress, access to the support services they need. For those who don't have coronavirus but are unable to get to a medical facility for their normal care, like a dialysis or a pharmacy replacement of their medications, the VA is reaching out through multiple ways to assist them, and some of them, which you mentioned. We are very fortunate to have that website, which provides everything that's needed, but sometimes people can't easily get to that.

[00:08:51] So let me start out this conversation by highlighting our key number that's available 24/7 to all veterans and family members and friends. This is the White House VA hotline. The number is 855-948-2311. That is the most important number that they will need to answer any questions they have about the entire VA — 24/7 it is an answered by trained veterans and their family members. And if there are calls about accessing the clinical services in their particular medical center, the best number for them to call is 844-698-2311.

[00:09:43] So what we're trying to do is ensure the safety of our veterans and their family members, whether they are experiencing the symptoms of COVID, or whether they are just trying to maintain their health. And I'll talk later about some of the ways in which we are doing that.

[00:10:11]Bill Walsh:  OK, well, thank you for that Dr. Davis and for those numbers. I'm going to repeat them right now, or perhaps you can, just to make sure we get them right and so our listeners can hear them. And just a note, 24 hours after this event, we'll have all of the resources on aarp.org/coronavirus. So Dr. Davis, can you just repeat those numbers and what they're for?

[00:10:36]Lynda Davis:  First of all, we have a 24/7 call line that is answered by veterans and their trained family members. And that will answer any question that a veteran or family member has about care or benefits or memorial services. That is 855-948-2311. We also have a number with specific questions related to clinical care and COVID-19. That is 844-698-2311. Finally, I'd like to mention that we have a number for caregivers of veterans, and that is answered from 8:00 to 8:00 Eastern Standard Time, 855-260-3274.

[00:11:35]Bill Walsh:  OK, and that's for caregiving related questions.

[00:11:38]Lynda Davis:  Yes sir.

[00:11:39]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Dr. Davis, I want to focus in a little bit on a particular dimension of VA service, and that's mental health. We know that mental health issues require constant vigilance, and the global pandemic has just elevated the level of anxiety and isolation for so many people. The VA is well-known as an innovator in telehealth. Can you talk a little bit about how VA mental health services are growing and changing to meet the needs of veterans today?

[00:12:14]Lynda Davis:  Yes, this is especially dear to my heart as a psychologist. The mental health capabilities of the VA have increased by about 750 percent recently as we've undertaken over a 100,000 telehealth appointments, many of them for mental and emotional health concerns. It is often that isolation and the stress leads us to have physical symptoms because we know that our entire wellness is based largely in part on our mental health, and these are very stressful times. We can find ourselves nervous about the safety of our loved ones far away. We can find ourselves stressed with people in a very small confined area, concerned about our ability to get our medications, etc. Our tele-mental health is specifically addressing these concerns. And each medical facility has the capability to provide the tele-mental health for veterans who maybe have been seeing a provider in the past or now need to have a provider. The ability to access those services is available through that hotline number I gave you earlier, the 844-698-2311 number. If someone is concerned about their health, their mental health, they just need to call that number and request an appointment with a mental health provider.

[00:14:14] We do have as our VA facilities are returning to expanded services beyond our appropriately more narrow focus on COVID patients. We are able to serve, not only veterans and their family members in the community, through our vet centers, but we're able to call on our partner organizations and nonprofits; organizations like the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that provides services and support for the caregivers who themselves may be under stress. The Cohen Veterans Network that provides assistance to family members and small children. The small children of veterans are also able to receive assistance through the One Source program at the Department of Defense. Many of our AARP eligible veterans will be grandparents and they have concerns about their own children, or maybe the ones who are primary, the caregivers. So we encourage you to reach out to all of these resources and make sure you're well.

[00:15:34]Bill Walsh:  Well, thank you for that. Dr. Davis. Let's ask about caregivers. I wonder if you can tell us the latest information for people who have loved ones in VA nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Where can they go for information and resources?

[00:15:49]Lynda Davis:  Well, the VA is very fortunate to have a very robust, community facilities or what we call community living centers. They are not what you and I often think of when we think of nursing homes or rehabilitation centers or assisted living centers, some of which I'm using right now for loved ones. Our VA community living centers are really an extension of our hospitals. They are acute care centers with very extensive physician and nursing staff. They are very well monitored; they have restrictions on visitors right now except for certain compassionate care situations. These are connected to other services that may be needed like palliative care or even, at some point, hospice care. We have rigorous guidelines that have been put in place and they follow the CDC, and those veterans who have tested positive for coronavirus are isolated, but they are getting exceptional care there.

[00:17:13] Now, one of the things, it's often confused that there are state veteran nursing homes, and by law, the VA has no authority to go into those unless the governor of a state invites us in. We have been going into several locations at that invitation to provide our own nursing staff to supplement those homes who have been unable to keep pace with the needs of their veterans. And we will continue to do that. We also offer home-based care; that has been a little bit more difficult to secure right now. But most of our veterans, of course, are not in these community living centers. They are at home with their loved ones, and they need assistance that's provided through the VA in conjunction with the Administration for Health and Human Services. We expect that the need for those kinds of home-based services will increase by 50 percent in the next 10 years as we age, and we are ready to support those needs for our veterans and their loved ones.

[00:18:32]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Let me bring Rashi Romanoff from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation into the conversation. Rashi, we know that older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the coronavirus. As a result, many caregivers are facing unprecedented challenges. What are some of the most critical concerns for military and veteran caregivers today?

[00:18:58]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Thanks so much, Bill, and thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to talk to the audience today a little bit about some issues that military and veteran caregivers are facing. And a huge thanks to Dr. Davis. She's been such a leader in this space, and rightly notes that when you think about military and veteran caregivers, research is telling us that nationally there's at least 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers out there nationally. And the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is solely focused on the needs of supporting systems and establishing resources and programs to really help these caregivers transition into these new roles and care for the veterans in their lives. I think Dr. Davis did a really great job outlining some specific challenges that the military and veteran community are facing at this time. You know, under the best of circumstances, I would say caregivers were already facing a number of challenges just getting through their day-to-day. And I think COVID-19 has obviously introduced a much more complex set of additional challenges and hurdles to cross.

[00:20:09] When it comes to what are the most significant or critical concerns, in the early days, we at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation surveyed our caregivers and identified some top needs. And at a high level, the top needs really continue to be around medical supplies, peer and mental support, financial support and backup care. And I'll talk very briefly about each one.

[00:20:34] On the supplies front, our data shows that upwards of 40 percent of our military and veteran caregivers are using medical supplies and personal protective equipment on a regular basis, things like medical gloves, masks, alcohol prep pads, distilled water. Not only are these now increasingly needed in healthcare settings, but oftentimes a lot of military and veteran caregivers that are providing quite complex care at home really need these items to make sure that they're providing safe and quality care at home. So in addition to not only being able to find these things, increasingly, the prices for these items have also gone up since there's such a dramatic spike in demand. So that's definitely been something that I think is a critical need for our community.

[00:21:23] The second one that I would mention is increasingly that we're seeing needs around caregiver mental health and peer support. In recent days we've seen pretty large spikes in the increases for caregivers, mental health and behavioral health support. I think in the early days there was a lot of focus around veterans’ mental health, and I think that's evolving. I think for many of us in the country are on week six, seven, eight, nine of this crisis. And so a lot of those stresses or things that you've grown accustomed to have become more challenging. You're now doing this on an extended period of time. And so those are some of the new challenges that I think we're hearing about from our caregiver community.

[00:22:13]Bill Walsh:  Right, well in light of all those challenges, I wonder if you can address some of the common strategies that caregivers are using and share some resources that are available to them.

[00:22:25]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, absolutely. I would just say it's never really been more important for our country and our healthcare institutions to get caregiver support right. Increasingly across the nation, more and more people are not only going to be stepping up as caregivers and taking on these roles, but either as a result of COVID-19 or existing chronic conditions, we're also going to have new people stepping up to take on these roles. Our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus, has a full listing of resources available, and I encourage everyone to visit. I would also mention just a few weeks ago, we teamed up with AARP on a document to really outline a few strategies, and there are three things that I would highlight for the folks listening in today.

[00:23:12] One, stock up and be prepared. I think a lot of us now are used to sort of making sure we're OK on our essential items and things like that. But also make sure you have a list of all of your medications, all of your medical contacts and any other important clinical information. Keep this on your fridge in the event that something comes up or you need to go and seek urgent medical care. Being prepared is really important. Number two, I would say, come up with your backup plan. What is your family's plan in the event that someone in your household gets infected? Where are they going to stay? How are you going to confine them to one location to reduce the risk of spread? I would definitely make sure you think through that. And three, find your community. For military and veteran caregivers we've always known that you can feel isolated and that's always been an issue. And now that we're all staying at home and self-isolating, it can really contribute and be an added stressor. So I would say, find a community. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation's Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is our digital platform based off of Facebook. It reaches thousands of caregivers and serves as a safe space for caregivers to seek advice and learn more about new resources. We just launched a new Caregiver Community Connections Series with our partners at the VA and with Wounded Warrior Project. And these are going to be different kinds of weekly webinars to talk about different issues that caregivers will find of interest. I think finding other caregivers and starting a dialogue and having that community to support you is really important right now.

[00:24:54]Bill Walsh:  All right, Rashi, some great advice there. And I know to our listeners, we're throwing a lot of resources at you, but just a reminder that tomorrow we'll be posting the recording of this event and all of the resources at aarp.org/coronavirus. And, also to our listeners, we're going to get to your calls in a second so please press *3 if you want to ask a question and get in the queue. Rashi, one other question. I wonder what the significance is when somebody like actor Tom Hanks tests positive for COVID-19? He was very open about his experience. How did that help bring awareness and hope to our veterans?

[00:25:35]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, you know, Tom Hanks is definitely a part of our Elizabeth Dole Foundation family. He served as a Hidden Heroes ambassador. In fact, it's kind of weird to think, I think this time last year we were in Indianapolis with him, doing some events for military families and celebrating them in Indiana. He's long had a great commitment to this sector and to this population, and it's been really great and creative to work with him.

[00:26:03] I think when you think back to the really early days of this crisis, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were probably some of the earliest and most recognizable faces that were impacted by this disease. You might also recall that there was a lot of misinformation in the early days just about transmission and prevention strategies. And so I think, having someone like him test positive and share that so openly, it did two really, really important things, not just for our veteran and caregiver community, but really for our broader public health community, as well. One, I think it emphasized to the public that anybody, whether you're a celebrity or not, is at risk. If Tom Hanks can come down with this, it's really important that all of us take all of the precautions. And two, I think he used his platform, whether it was Twitter or social media or leveraging partners to really share really critical and useful information. The importance of taking quarantine really seriously, following the advice of the experts, the importance of protecting those who might be immunosuppressed, which is always of importance to our veteran and caregiver community. I think he used that platform really, really positively. It's weird to think that that only all happened just a couple months ago, but I think it really did shine national attention to it and got everyone thinking that we really have to take this seriously and anybody can be impacted.

[00:27:32]Bill Walsh:  Right. And gave people, I think, a lot of hope that he has come out the other side and has recovered and talking about that recovery, as well. So, well, thank you both, Rashi Romanoff and Dr. Davis. It's time now to address your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of Veterans Affairs and Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. We'll also be joined shortly by Charlie Coon of F&M Bank. He's here to address the financial fallout of the coronavirus and answer your questions.

[00:28:14] I'd now like to address, introduce rather, AARP colleague, Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls. Welcome Jean.

[00:28:22]Jean Setzfand:  Thanks, Bill, I'm happy to be here for this important conversation.

[00:28:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Who do we have on the line with us?

[00:28:29]Jean Setzfand:  We have Hazel from Oklahoma.

[00:28:33]Bill Walsh:  All right. Hazel, welcome. Go ahead with your question.

[00:28:36]Hazel:  I have a question. My husband is in the Claremore, Oklahoma Veteran's Facility. I would like to know if there is any plans to reopen it up.

[00:28:48]Bill Walsh:  All right. Thank you for that, Hazel. Dr. Davis, are you able to address that question from Hazel in Oklahoma?

[00:28:55]Lynda Davis:  Yes, Hazel. Thank you so much for the loving care I'm sure your husband is getting from you. And let me say that what we're doing now with all our VA medical facilities is we are looking at each one to see how we reopen. And those facilities that are less impacted by the number of people who have had COVID or are still there with COVID; those that will be the ones that open first. Let me, I'm very happy to find that specifically out and get back to you, if they can help us do that. But let me tell you again, the quickest way to find that out, Hazel, if you don't mind, is to call that 844-698-2311 number because they can tell you by facility, as well as they know it, when the reopenings … I won't say reopenings because none of our VA facilities have ever closed, but they have focused on the COVID services that are needed and not always been able to provide those other care that your husband may need. So, your safe care, your husband's safe care is our core mission and we want to transition back to that normal services as quickly as possible.

[00:30:29]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, I was wondering if there's any online resource that people can check to see the status of their local VA facilities?

[00:30:38]Lynda Davis:  Yes. So that's va.gov.

[00:30:41]Bill Walsh:  OK.

[00:30:42]Lynda Davis:  www.va.gov. But my experience, you get much richer conversation and additional resources, and perhaps even more up-to-date resources, if you take the time to talk to somebody.

[00:30:59]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Jean, who's next in the queue?

[00:31:11]Jean Setzfand:  We have Brandon from Ohio.

[00:31:14]Bill Walsh:  Hey Brandon, go ahead with your question. Hi, Brandon. Are you with us?

[00:31:23]Brandon:  Yes.

[00:31:24]Bill Walsh:  All right, go ahead with your question.

[00:31:26]Brandon:  I wanted to know what kind of resources are available to help both the veterans and especially our veteran caregivers, in ways that as individuals we can support those and support those resources.

[00:31:38]Bill Walsh:  OK. It sounds like a resource question. Dr. Davis, I know you've called out some resources. Maybe you could just refresh that and, maybe Rashi, if you have some suggestions on that as well.

[00:31:51]Lynda Davis:  Brandon, thank you very much for the care that you are providing to a veteran. Perhaps you're a veteran yourself, but we want to make sure that, as Rashi said, our caregivers are fully supported. We have a peer support service for veterans and also for caregivers. And if you can take the number down, I'll give it to you again. It's 1-800-342-9647. We have numerous services for caregivers including respite care, which means that somebody can assist you in delivering the services that are needed and give you or other loved ones a break. It can be very strenuous and stressful to care for a loved one 24/7. We also have the ability to have some home healthcare services come in to assist you. But the best way is to call that number I just gave you, or 877-222-8387, and they will assist you with the resources that you need.

[00:33:13]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  And Brandon, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Yeah, absolutely. One thing I would really recommend if you're a caregiver yourself is, register at our website at hiddenheroes.org. That's really the easiest way to get information about different resources that we have. I know I mentioned our Caregiver Community Connection Series. Another thing that we've been working on actually very closely with the VA is a spotlight series on really high priority topics that are impacting veterans and caregivers. So last month we did a whole session on accessing VA telehealth services, which is really important during this time. It was sort of a step-by-step of how you create an account, what different resources are available and then some really robust Q&A. On May 20, next week, actually on Wednesday, we're going to be doing a whole session with VA experts, along with our partners at Phillips, on whole healthcare resources and self-care resources available to veterans and families during this time. So I would really recommend, there's a lot out there; hidden heroes.org is a great place to get started and registering there will get you direct links to all of these different resources.

[00:34:32]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Thank you both for those suggestions. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:34:38]Jean Setzfand:  We have a question coming in from YouTube, from Jeffrey. It's a two-part question. So, let me read this for you. "The VA system is deferring most non-emergency medical care, and I and other vets are waiting for non-emergency care. Our vets are seeing health issues worsen by these delays. And as a follow-up, the question continues to say, "Because I'm an Illinois resident who received care from Missouri, my therapist cannot meet me via telehealth. They're licensed to practice only in the state of Missouri. So I think this is a question around the VA system. Thank you.”

[00:35:14]Bill Walsh:  Hmm. Very good. Dr. Davis, are you able to handle those? So just as a refresher, Jeffrey was asking about non-emergency care, and have we seen the condition of veterans worsen as those things have been deferred?

[00:35:32]Lynda Davis:  Jeffrey, thank you for this question. His question is very, very relevant, and just like with Hazel's concern about her husband, getting access to his local facility, first of all, our concern is the safe return, so to speak, of our veterans to their local medical facilities or community-based clinic or veteran clinic. What we're doing to supplement the care of our veterans during this time when the focus is understandably so much on COVID services, we're making sure that we utilize other authorities that we have through things like community care, through the Mission Act and care in the community. We are able to support veterans in seeing practitioners in the community, and we are working with them. Those are services that are authorized and reimbursed with the VA, but they're able to be done through non-VA clinicians. So, also if there is emergency care needed or urgent care needed, urgent care now is certainly covered. And that can be obtained by any veteran at one of the urgent care facilities or their emergency room or at our VA medical centers. They are always open to take in emergency situations.

[00:37:05] With regard to the telehealth, tele-mental health, it is unfortunate that there are still restrictions because of licensure for people to practice across state lines. We are working on that, and in the meantime, if you need to receive support from a different clinician than the one that you were accustomed to, again, I ask you please to reach out, Brandon, to 1-844-698-2311. There are also numerous peer support programs through organizations like the American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Disabled Veterans of America, Paralyzed American Veterans and also the Wounded Warrior Project.

[00:38:02]Bill Walsh:  OK, Dr. Davis, thank you for that. Thanks for all these questions. Jean, who's next in line to ask a question?

[00:38:17]Jean Setzfand:  We have Jasmine from Florida.

[00:38:19]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Jasmine, go ahead with your question.

[00:38:23]Jasmine:  Hi. Yes, my question is in regards to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. I was just wondering if you could explain more about the programs that are available for military and veteran caregivers, and what I can do now as a caregiver, in order to get involved with the foundation during COVID-19?

[00:38:41]Bill Walsh:  Rashi Romanoff, can you handle that question from Jasmine?

[00:38:46]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, absolutely. I would definitely encourage you … there's two ways that I think you can get involved right now if you're a military and veteran caregiver. One is to join our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community, which is our Facebook group. It's a really great place to share advice, to seek guidance, just to talk with other military and veteran caregivers that are out there. Some of the questions that have come in just about accessing telehealth or some of the state by state issues; a lot of those same questions are being asked in that community. And what I love about our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community is that it's a great opportunity to get intel sort of from other caregivers themselves that have queried the same issues. So that's something you can do right now. At hiddenheroes.org, if you register there as well, all of this content that we've been pushing out with our partners at the VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Phillips and others, we're really trying to think of new and creative content ideas. Last week we did a healthy eating and cooking demonstration for people at home. We also talked a little bit about breathing strategies and exercises you can use to cope with stress. This afternoon, actually, we're going to be talking with Operation Gratitude a little bit about virtual volunteerism efforts. And so, I think what's important to note is that, Jasmine, right now folks need a wide range of different kinds of support. Some people need really specific kinds of clinical care support. Others are looking for things to do with their families or ways to give back. And so we're trying to curate content that really focuses on all of those different needs. And we want to work with our caregiving community to create more content and to work with our partners to answer some of these challenging questions of the day.

[00:40:36]Bill Walsh:  All right. Thanks for that, Rashi. Let's go back to our questions. Jean, who is next in the queue?

[00:40:43]Jean Setzfand:  We have Rebecca from Colorado.

[00:40:46]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Rebecca. Go ahead with your question.

[00:40:49]Rebecca:  Hello. My husband has previously had his hearing aids serviced in Wyoming at the facility there. The other option would be to go to Loveland, both of which are equally as far away from us. We live in a very small town in the Northeastern plains of Colorado. And his rechargeable hearing aid batteries are dead. They have told me previously that they didn't ship those to the home and what can we do now? Because he's been without a hearing aid for quite some time.

[00:41:36]Bill Walsh:  All right, Rebecca, thank you for that question. Dr. Davis, can you address Rebecca's concerns?

[00:41:42]Lynda Davis:  Well, I certainly hope I can. I'm so sorry for that inconvenience, Rebecca. That's a real tough situation for your husband and for you. Not to sound like a broken record, but these are extraordinary circumstances, and being able to transport something to you under these conditions is what we are trying to find ways to do. We do not rely simply on our own ability to do that. We work very closely with other partners, including the Red Cross. Again, if the AARP team will get your information, I will follow up with you from the VA, but if you can call the 844-698-2311 number and tell them specifically that it is urgent that you get those hearing aids and that you need to have them provided to you, I know they will do everything possible. Let me tell you my specific email address, so that you or anyone else on this call who has a concern can reach me. My name is Lynda.Davis@va.gov. If you send me your concern, just like we're going to look into the Oklahoma facility opening, we will do everything we can to assure you get the assistance that you need.

[00:43:38]Bill Walsh:  Excellent. Dr. Davis, thanks so much for that. And to our listeners, you've heard a lot of resources mentioned here today, so tomorrow, all of these resources will be on aarp.org/coronavirus. So if you missed the phone number or website, look at AARP's website tomorrow and it will be there.

[00:44:00] So, at this time I'd like to take a moment to give you a brief update on what AARP has been doing to protect older Americans during this pandemic. We are focused on three key coronavirus related priorities: transparency and protections for nursing home staff and residents, access to necessary food and nutrition and support for state and local governments. More than 20,000 COVID-19 facilities, fatalities, I'm sorry, have occurred in our nation's long-term care facilities accounting for 1 of every 4 reported coronavirus deaths. AARP state offices are focusing much of their attention on keeping residents and staff safe in these facilities. We've pushed to improve protective equipment and increased testing availability. We have also advocated to address staffing shortages and required transparency at facilities with known infections, and increasing access to virtual visitation for residents such as video chats. AARP's efforts have already resulted in dozens of policy changes. COVID-19 will continue to be a major threat to residents of long-term care facilities for the foreseeable future, and AARP’s advocacy is crucial. The efforts and success would not be possible, however, without the phone calls, emails and actions from AARP members, volunteers and older adults across the country. So thank you for all of that support.

[00:45:32] Let's hear more from our guests. Let's get into the financial impact of the coronavirus on households and businesses. And for that, we'd like to welcome today, Charlie Koon. Charlie is the vice president of F&M Bank. He serves as a business development liaison between F&M Bank and the military community in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He works with active duty soldiers, veterans and their families. He is committed to economic progress and growth at the local, state and national levels. Previously, he served as the director of workforce and economic development, as well as the liaison between new and expanding industries and the Tennessee Department of Labor, local American job centers, workforce essentials and existing businesses. Thanks for being with us today, Charlie.

[00:46:24]Charlie Koon:  Yes, sir. Good to be here. It's been a pleasure to just be on the line with you guys and listen to all the resources that are available. And hopefully, I can help out a little bit. And I'm going to do like Dr. Davis. At some point, I'll give out my email address because there may be a question I can't give you the precise answer, but I'm happy to dig into it and find out whatever we need to find out.

[00:46:51]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Well, Charlie, let's get into some questions for you. You know the coronavirus has been a major financial blow to so many households across the country. What can veterans do about bills and debt in light of the sudden crisis? Are there special relief programs or appeals available to extend or reduce copays, VA-backed home loans and other debts at this time?

[00:47:16]Charlie Koon:  You know, there are some things locally and I know we've got people all across the country. So the first thing I would say is use your VA resources. And I know Dr. Davis has spoken a lot about what the VA does, but they have implemented some programs to help with debt and healthcare debts, and benefit debts. So they've suspended all actions on veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department. And they're suspending collection action, extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts. So the VA is definitely a great resource. And if I could give out a couple of phone numbers ...

[00:48:11]Bill Walsh:  Yes, please do.

[00:48:14]Charlie Koon:  … for benefit debt questions, 1-800-827-0648, and for healthcare debt questions, 888-827-4817. Now, we have a lot of these questions; we have people coming into our bank and other financial institutions have them as well, and there's a couple of things that I would recommend. If you know your banker or your financial advisor, I would definitely talk to them about some resources because there are so many, they're hard to list, but there are so many locally that might apply to veterans and their families. I would definitely find somebody that I trust, somebody that I've worked with, banked with or my financial advisor to get some local answers.

[00:49:18]Bill Walsh:  OK. And Charlie, are you finding that lenders are being more open to extending terms and payback deadlines and whatnot?

[00:49:29]Charlie Koon:  Yes, sir. You know, that's decided on a per institution basis. But there are many, many credit unions, banks that are being lenient, either deferring payment or helping with lowering payments just to keep people on track.

[00:49:52]Bill Walsh:  OK. All right, Charlie, given the impact of the coronavirus on small businesses and communities, what do veterans most need to know about preserving their employment or businesses? And how can veterans help each other?

[00:50:08]Charlie Koon:  Well, I would say about preserving employment is speak with your employer. We see it a lot here in Tennessee. A lot of people have been furloughed or laid off, but I really believe the economy's going to turn around probably sooner rather than later. There'll be some short-term pains, but if you stay in touch with your employer, I believe your job will probably be secure unless there's some unfortunate circumstances.

[00:50:49] There are veteran network groups, and I'm sure you're aware of a lot of them, but get involved in veteran network groups in your community. There are different ways that they can help support you, give you information and just kind of help you through these trying times.

[00:51:08]Bill Walsh:  OK. Let me throw another question at you, Charlie. There's been so many questions to us about the stimulus checks. I'm wondering if the stimulus checks or extra employment payments have any impact on veteran benefits.

[00:51:25]Charlie Koon:  They do not. They're not supposed to have any impact on that whatsoever. So, I think you're fine. I think everybody will be fine that received one as a veteran.

[00:51:39]Bill Walsh:  OK. All right, well, thank you for that, Charlie, and we'll come back with some more questions from our listeners. But before we return to your questions, I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Davis and all our callers today who have served our country in the U.S. Armed Forces. Armed Forces Day/Week was created in the wake of the consolidation of military services under the United States Department of Defense and was first observed 70 years ago on May 20, 1950. Next week, our nation formerly honors all six branches of the U.S. military and traditionally offers weeklong activities to remember past and present service in all branches. While these activities will be muted, our times and the sacrifices by medical professionals only remind us of the valor and sacrifice of active duty personnel and veterans. There's no greater honor than service to country and AARP appreciates and honors those who have served, particularly on Memorial Day, those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. Today and every day, we salute you for your service.

[00:52:48] It's now time to take more of your questions with Dr. Lynda Davis of the VA, Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Charlie Coon with F&M Bank. Jean, who do we have up next?

[00:53:09]Jean Setzfand:  We have David from Coachella, California.

[00:53:17]Bill Walsh:  All right. Dave from California, go ahead with your question.

[00:53:21]David:  Yes. I was asking the young lady from AARP about; I had some identity theft issues prior to retirement. And so I froze all my credit bureaus. It's so difficult to try to refinance or readjust your VA loan if you can't reach the credit bureaus. They're so difficult. Even with pin numbers that they gave to me when I first froze my accounts, or froze my credit, you can get one, but you can't get the other two. It's a very difficult situation. There's very limited people that you can access. Same thing with the post office. You can't mail stuff because it's going to take 10 times longer to get there. So, I mean, I don't understand how are we supposed to help correct our financial instabilities when we can't even get through the credit bureau.

[00:54:16]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Well, it's a challenging time for all businesses, but Charlie, I wonder if you might help David. Are there any tips for getting through to the three credit bureaus to address credit issues?

[00:54:29]Charlie Koon:  You know that's a really challenging question, and I've really not faced that before, but what I would like to offer him is if he were to reach out to me, I will find those answers and then supply them back to the AARP to distribute amongst your members. I'd want to give as accurate of answer as I can, and I just don't have that information.

[00:54:52]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, do you have any insight on that? Does the Veterans Affairs have any tips on how to get through to the credit bureaus?

[00:55:03]Lynda Davis:  Let me suggest that, especially if this is interfering with your access to any of your veteran’s benefits in any way, we do have a hotline specifically for that. And that number is 800-827-1000. That's for the benefits hotline. I will also raise this with our Veterans Benefit Administration, because I'm sure it's a question and a challenge other veterans besides yourself are experiencing. There's one other place that we can go. The federal government now has a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and they are specifically there to address the concerns of American citizens about things like identity fraud and financial theft of their information. They have a specific office that is dedicated to military service members and veterans and their financial identity and wholeness and the protection of that. I do not have the number right now. I'm going to look it up, but I'm sure that our AARP colleagues will make sure that by the time that they post tomorrow that they have the Division for Military and Veterans under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I hope they can help you too.

[00:56:43]Bill Walsh:  Yes, I'm sure right now my AARP colleagues are looking up those resources. If we don't get it before the end of the call, it'll be on aarp.org/coronavirus tomorrow. Jean, let's take another call.

[00:56:57]Jean Setzfand:  We have Bernard from North Carolina.

[00:57:00]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Bernard. Go ahead with your question.

[00:57:04]Bernard:  Yes, I'm a blind veteran. My question is, I have an appointment upcoming June 22 and I need transportation. I need to know, is the facility still providing transportation to veterans that need it?

[00:57:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you for that question, Bernard. Dr. Davis or Rashi, are you able to address that?

[00:57:33]Lynda Davis:  Can I understand that the question is for your upcoming appointment, can you still get assistance with transportation to the facility? And if that's the case, sir, we want to make sure that you don't miss your appointment. Oftentimes our transportation is provided by Disabled Veterans of America. They run many of our shuttles for our veterans. So the best way to determine when and if they're operating is to make sure that we get the information for your local facility. I can find that for you if someone will connect us, or we can call the 844-698-2311 number, and they will make sure that you have transportation.

[00:58:38]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you, Dr. Davis for that. Jean, who's next in the questioning queue?

[00:58:46]Jean Setzfand:  I have a call from Miriam from Washington.

[00:58:49]Bill Walsh:  Miriam, go ahead.

[00:58:51]Miriam:  My question is my father is a veteran, and I have a question if there are any resources to find a cell phone service and/or internet service, that is available, that is less expensive, without having to prove that one is extremely low-income? We have a lot of expenses, health expenses, and wanted to know if the VA has any resources or anyone else.

[00:59:25]Bill Walsh:  OK. Dr. Davis, do you want to take a crack at that, and Rashi, if you have anything to add, please do.

[00:59:30]Lynda Davis:  Yes, Miriam. Not having the access the internet and cell phone services is not only inconvenient, it can be life threatening. And we are currently in negotiation with the major carriers, and I won't name one because if I forget one then I'll be in trouble. But all of the major carriers are working with our Office of Strategic Programs to ensure the rates and the coverage for all broadband is available for all veterans, including those in very remote areas, like Alaska and the Yukon Territories, etc., in Guam. We want to make sure that everyone can reach their provider and have access to telehealth. So, I want to make sure we look at how we have the most affordable access to the internet for your family. And again, I can get you some information about what specific program to use. And I can also ask you to, if you can call our hotline number at 855-948-2311, tell them your problem, they will get back to you with an answer and a way to address it. And they will let us know how quickly they've responded to you.

[01:01:14]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  And Bill, this is Rashi from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Miriam, thanks so much for the question. Definitely please, if there's a way that we can reach out to you following the call through AARP, I want to talk to you a little bit more about this. You know, we have partnerships, both with AT&T and Comcast, where they're both doing offerings. It sort of depends on where you live and exactly what's available, but would love to connect you with that. You know, I know our partners at Comcast have started offering their internet essentials package much more broadly given that a lot of people are at home right now and internet access is really key, particularly for veterans and accessing telehealth appointments and things like that. So we have some great resources and would love to connect you directly with those providers. And you can feel free to email me, I'm rashi@elizabethdolefoundation.org., or I'll sort of work with Bill and the team to get your contact information afterwards, as well.

[01:02:15]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you both for that. And David from California, you had a question a few minutes back about reaching the credit bureaus and one of our guests suggested reaching out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They actually have some pretty robust information for service members and credit. And so you can reach them at 855-411-2372, that's 855-411-2372. You can also reach them online at consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers. And again, all of these resources will be available at aarp.org/coronavirus starting tomorrow. OK, Jean, you have another question for us?

[01:03:08]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. This is Thomas from Washington.

[01:03:11]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead with your question, Thomas.

[01:03:15]Thomas:  Hi. I have 160 percent SMC rating and I haven't been able to get my stimulus payment, or I have a HELOC, and I can't get that transferred into my GI Bill to get a loan. So I've been trying everything in the world, but I just can't make the connection.

[01:03:44]Bill Walsh:  OK. Charlie, do you want to see if you can address Thomas's question?

[01:03:49]Charlie Koon:  Yeah. He kind of broke up on my end. I didn't hear his question. Could you repeat that?

[01:03:55]Bill Walsh:  Well, he started off saying that he had 160 percent SMC rating, but he's having trouble getting a stimulus check. He's also having trouble accessing his home equity line of credit. I'm wondering if we can give him some tips and resources to address that. It sounds like he's in a tight financial spot right now.

[01:04:15]Charlie Koon:  Yeah, I would, as far as the stimulus check, if he, well, he can't get online. If somebody could get online to go to irs.gov/coronavirus, there's a way you can click on there, put your information on it, and it will tell you how and when your check should come if you have not received it. If he has a home equity line of credit, he should be able to use that already unless he's maxed out on that. So we would need more information on his home equity line of credit, but if he has any room on there at all, he should be able to use it.

[01:05:02]Bill Walsh:  OK. And we too have been referring people to irs.gov for updates on their stimulus checks. Jean, who is next in the questioning queue?

[01:05:14]Jean Setzfand:  We have a call from Richard from New Jersey.

[01:05:18]Bill Walsh:  All right, Richard. Go ahead with your question.

[01:05:22]Richard:  My question is, I'm the caretaker of my wife. She has Alzheimer's, and I filed for assistance through the VA. It's been about approximately 10 months now. And whenever I filed it, not a month later, the lady that filed it for me says it was approved. Now, since then, I haven't heard a word.

[01:05:54]Bill Walsh:  Hmm. And how long ago, was that when you ...

[01:05:57]Richard:  About 10 months ago now.

[01:05:57]Bill Walsh:  ... heard that it was approved? It was 10 months ago since you heard that it was approved.

[01:06:04]Richard:  No, I'd say nine months ago.

[01:06:06]Bill Walsh:  Nine to 10 months. Dr. Davis, can you address Richard's concern.

[01:06:11]Lynda Davis:  Absolutely Richard. I am very glad that you were approved, and you got confirmation of that. Did you get something also in writing?

[01:06:25]Bill Walsh:  Richard, are you still on the line? I think he may not be.

[01:06:30]Lynda Davis:  OK.

[01:06:30]Bill Walsh:  It sounds like somebody told him that it was approved.

[01:06:32]Lynda Davis:  OK, yeah, and that's always good news to hear positive news, but it's always important for us to make sure we receive things in writing when we're talking about federal or state public benefits. So for Richard, or anyone else who has a challenge with payments, even Thomas who was talking about trying to make sure that he got his stimulus checks, our Veterans Benefits Administration will look into issues like this for you. And their number again is 800-827-1000. But our hotline specifically is designed 24/7 to do case management. If you tell us your name and just a little bit of information, we will not rest until we track down the source or the status of your benefit application and understand what needs to be done, if anything, to make sure you get access to the benefits that you deserve. So that hotline number is 855-948-2311.

[01:07:55]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Richard, again, if you were just trying to copy that down, it was 855-948-2311. Just a quick question to follow up on that. I'm wondering if it's possible to get paid for taking care of loved ones who are veterans.

[01:08:13]Lynda Davis:  Absolutely, it is. Congress has passed a law. Beginning in 2009, they began to understand the importance, even more so, of the critical role that family members play as caregivers. Many times our veterans who are wounded, ill or injured, do not want to be in a medical facility or assisted-living, but they want to be home with their family, understandably. And so we now have programs, a program of comprehensive assistance for family that provides stipends to those family members or even friends who have a commitment to care for an eligible veteran who has the inability to perform some of the activities of daily living. And the caregiver line that I provided earlier is the number to call to get information on that. Also again, the hotline that I just gave out, 855-948-2311, saying that I'd like information on all the programs available to assist family members who are caregivers of a veteran. They will provide you that. But there are stipends available for those who qualify, and we'll be expanding those in the coming year to caregivers of veterans who were injured before 9/11. Currently it's just 9/11 veterans, so our population of AARP individuals like myself, who are older veterans, we would not yet be eligible. But we will be very soon. And it's a wonderful program to assist family members.

[01:10:09]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very, very good. And it's great to hear that. Jean, who's next in the queue?

[01:10:16]Jean Setzfand:  We have Antoinette from South Florida.

[01:10:18]Bill Walsh:  Yeah. Hi, Antoinette. Go ahead with your question.

[01:10:22]Antoinette:  It's more of a comment. Everybody is concerned about nursing homes, and they should be. But there's also over 55 communities, condominiums that no one checks on, even if you have it through your health insurance. There's really nothing happening to look after us to make sure that we're getting food, that they're sanitizing the areas properly. Now, the young woman that I spoke to said, did I tell my management company? I wouldn't make these statements if they followed through on things. But it's something to look into. There a lot of people here that are way over 90, and my father was a veteran. There are a lot of veterans here. And you know, we're inside, so we don't get as much information as when we traveled out, gone shopping. But it should be noted that these communities that are way over 55, they don't seem to be doing much as far as keeping us as safe as they should. That's all I have to say.

[01:11:38]Bill Walsh:  Antoinette, I just want to ask you before you drop off, are you talking about an assisted-living facility or are you just talking about a complex with older people?

[01:11:45]Antoinette:  No, over 55, a complex that's been around for a long time. And again, people live longer and everybody's here a long time. I'm 77. My father lived to be 90, my mother, 95. And people are staying, living, aging in place. I guess that's what's troubling — the aging in place and not having the safety that we should have.

[01:12:19]Bill Walsh:  Right. OK, Antoinette, thanks for that. I wonder if Rashi, do you have any thoughts on Antoinette's comment? Really, she's asking about, I guess, oversight and assistance outside of a nursing home or assisted living location; just where older folks are living in apartments or whatever. Do you have any thoughts on that?

[01:12:42]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, and thanks so much for raising that, Antoinette. I think, obviously, from like a who has authority, I know within housing there's different local authorities and agencies that have requirements around safety and living conditions. I will say, that's probably more of the official answer. And I don't have specifics about what might be available in South Florida, but I think the comment you raise is really important. And I think it's important for all of us to keep in mind and really reinforces, I think, not only the trends with individuals and baby boomers and all getting older, but recognizing that a lot of folks are now, as you said, aging in place or they're not necessarily going to institutions. They might be moving in with family members or staying in different kinds of condominium situations. Obviously, we're seeing from the caregiver perspective, a lot more people stepping up to help grandparents and parents as they age, so I think a lot of the issues you're raising are really important ones. Obviously COVID-19 has introduced a wide set of challenges for a number of different industries. And I think as a result of this, a lot of different groups are going to be thinking about, how are we really protecting those Americans that are aging in place, and how are we getting resources to them, whether it's everything from grocery supplies to cleanliness in apartment buildings. I think everything's going to be on the table as we think about ways to do a lot of this better.

[01:14:17]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you for that. Jean, who do we have up next?

[01:14:32]Jean Setzfand:  We have Elaine from New York.

[01:14:34]Bill Walsh:  Hey Elaine, go ahead with your question.

[01:14:37]Elaine:  Yes. Nice to talk to you, I'm enjoying your program very, very much, Bill Walsh. Dr. Davis, I have a question regarding Vietnam vets. I come from a long line of veterans who have deceased and also my own father was a veteran, and he was cared for at the VA hospital in San Albans, Queens. Had to be coming home from the war, and he wound up getting a leukemia and passed away eventually in that hospital. But my question is, what is the parameter requirement for getting dental service? You know, if you have bad teeth, a veteran, I'm talking about, that was in Vietnam.

[01:15:26]Bill Walsh:  So, Dr. Davis, can you talk a little bit about dental service? And she was asking about the parameters, the requirements, probably income thresholds, etc., that you need to meet in order to get those dentist services.

[01:15:41]Lynda Davis:  Thank you very much for your service through your family's service. Let me just say that eligibility for VA care is not connected first and foremost in any way to income. What we first, to determine eligibility for the levels of care, it depends on when the individual served, and in this case, it sounds like certainly service during the Vietnam era qualifies someone for our benefits. And you're probably already receiving ... is your loved one already receiving healthcare from the VA?

[01:16:32]Bill Walsh:  Elaine is not on the line.

[01:16:34]Lynda Davis:  OK. So first of all, if someone is not yet, encourage them to enroll. The fastest way to enroll is to go right now because you're not going to be walking into your facility yet. I'm not sure where she is in Florida.

[01:16:56]Bill Walsh:  She's in New York, actually.

[01:16:58]Lynda Davis:  Oh, OK. The last caller, Antoinette was in Florida. And I would encourage Antoinette to reach out to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs also, or even the local VA medical center to ask about, especially if she can express her concern for the safety of veterans and family members in her apartment complex. But for New York and our Vietnam-veteran family member, if you're not yet enrolled, the healthcare coverage does include dental in almost all cases. And so we want to make sure that your loved one is enrolled. The best way to do that right now is to call the 855-948-2311 number, and they will help determine the eligibility. And then we'll direct you to the ways to get the dental care. Most facilities have that dental care available at the same location. Some have to refer to. If you are not near a facility that offers a service you need — dental extraction, for instance, or braces or dentures — we will refer you out to the community near you to get those services, and they will be paid for through the VA. So we want to make sure, especially nutrition becomes such a challenge as we age, and it's important to be able to have good, good dental hygiene. So that's a great question.

[01:18:55]Bill Walsh:  OK, Dr. Davis, thanks for that answer. So Elaine, it sounds like starting at the hotline might be your best starting place to find out the parameters for dental coverage. Jean, who is next up for a question?

[01:19:09]Jean Setzfand:  We have Mary from L.A.

[01:19:11]Bill Walsh:  Hey, Mary, go ahead with your question. Go ahead, Mary. Mary, are you on the line with us?

[01:19:30]Jean Setzfand:  Sounds like we might've lost her.

[01:19:32]Bill Walsh:  OK, well maybe we can take whoever was next in line.

[01:19:36]Jean Setzfand:  All right. We have Carl from Pennsylvania.

[01:19:44]Bill Walsh:  Hey Carl, go ahead with your question for our panel.

[01:19:47]Carl:  I have, two questions I'd like to ask on the transportation. The drivers that are driving the veterans from their facility to their apartment. I would like to know, do those drivers has their temperature taken every day? Do they wear masks? The other thing that I would like to know, do they clean their vehicles when they get through?

[01:20:16]Bill Walsh:  OK, that's a good question for Dr. Davis about the drivers and the vehicles that are transporting veterans to and from facilities. Are the drivers monitored for COVID, and what's being done to keep those vehicles clean?

[01:20:33]Lynda Davis:  Carl, that is a great question whether you're in Pennsylvania or in Texas. As I mentioned earlier, we are expanding the services to what they used to be with one primary thing in mind, and that is safety. So as we open up and get you back to depending and using the services of these drivers, the cleanliness of their vehicles, and our working with groups like the Disabled Veterans of America, will be priority number one. Given your great question, Carl, and our need to assure that our external partners, whether they're one of our veteran service organizations or whether we're relying on private transportation, that those are 100 percent reliable in terms of their cleanliness. I'm going to take this question right now back to both our benefits and our health undersecretaries and say that you want to make sure that's the case, Carl, and I will call the Disabled Veterans of America and make sure that they have all the arrangements to take care of that.

[01:21:57]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much for that, Dr. Davis. Jean, do we have another question?

[01:22:03]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we do. We have Lydia from Florida.

[01:22:06]Bill Walsh:  Hi, Lydia, go ahead with your question.

[01:22:10]Lydia:  Hi, good afternoon. My name is Lydia Rivera. I'm calling from Tampa, Florida. I am a caregiver to my mom. She's 90 years old. And I'm wondering how can caregiver volunteers support all their caregivers and are there any local resources or initiatives available to caregivers?

[01:22:35]Bill Walsh:  OK, we have a caregiving question. Rashi, do you want to tackle that one?

[01:22:40]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, Lydia. It's actually a very timely question. And at 4:00 Eastern today, we're actually going to be hosting a whole webinar session on virtual volunteerism opportunities, later on today. So I hope you can dial in and if not. happy to connect you with some of the information following. We've been hearing, on a personal note, just really amazing stories about caregivers and military families doing a lot to help others during this time of need. Our foundation has our Dole Caregiver Fellows program, and a number of our fellows have been doing things like designing masks and hand-sewing masks to send out to other folks. And so I think there's been really exciting things, and we've been trying to share all of those opportunities through our networks and through our different platforms. And so at 4:00 today, we're actually going to be talking a little bit about a virtual volunteerism activity that folks can be doing with their families. You mentioned locally what you can be doing. I would recommend, we have a Hidden Heroes Cities Program at the foundation, and you can feel free to reach out to us to get you involved. But across the country, we're trying to activate local cities and local counties to do more to create local systems of support for caregivers and for military families in those communities. Oftentimes, nationally, it can be really hard to get things done. But once you go into a local community and work with your mayor or your county officials, it can be really creative and a really great relationship to build up. Also, your local VA, and so definitely reach out to us because we'd love to get you involved in the work that we have ongoing in Tampa and see if there's ways that we can do some volunteer activities there.

[01:24:34]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you, Rashi, for that. And we are coming to the end of our show. I wanted to thank Dr. Lynda Davis, Rashi Romanoff and Charlie Coon. This has been a really informative session. I hope our listeners have gotten a lot out of it. I wanted to thank each of you for answering our questions, and I want to invite you to offer any closing thoughts or recommendations. Dr. Davis, do you want to start us off?

[01:25:02]Lynda Davis:  Thank you very much. I appreciate this opportunity, Bill, most of all to talk to my AARP members like myself and also to veterans and veteran loved ones. Thank you for your service and those who support those who have served. I want to just leave you with one thing: our pledge to provide the best, highest quality care benefits and memorial services to all of you stands. You will see even an improved VA capability to do that going forward — a lot more virtual services there in your home community as we transition and ensure that your safety remains the highest priority. I want to urge you to remember just a couple key numbers. One, always the bottom line, if you have a concern, is the hotline — 855-948-2311. For any questions related to COVID and the virus, 844-698-2311. And please, please, if anyone is in crisis or concerned about your physical safety or harm to self or others, we have a veteran's crisis line 24/7. That's 800-273-8255. Please be safe, stay well and we look forward to celebrating or recognizing and remembering those loved ones who are no longer with us on Memorial Day.

[01:26:50]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you so much for that. Dr. Davis. Rashi Romanoff of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, any closing thoughts or recommendations for our listeners?

[01:27:00]Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff:  Yes. Thank you so much, Bill, and thanks so much to all of the questions that came in. It was really great and such a geographic diversity as well. In closing, I think it's a really tough time I think for all Americans, but it's a really particularly tough time for military families. And to all the military and veteran caregivers out there, we recognize that many of you are under tremendous amounts of stress and are really triaging, whether it's having kids at home, or more older people at home or having to coordinate a lot of clinical care via telehealth and all these different modalities. We know it can be a really challenging time, and I think I just want to impart that they're not alone and the people at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation are really here for you. So one thing I would leave everyone with is to visit our website, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus. There's a ton of different resources there that are available to you. There's also just an open question opportunity. So at the point that anyone has questions or wants to reach out, you can always email us after this call, and we can try to help you get support as well. So thanks so much.

[01:28:11]Bill Walsh:  OK, Rashi, thank you so much. And Charlie Coon of F&M Bank, any closing thoughts?

[01:28:17]Charlie Koon:  Yes sir, Bill. Well, first I want to thank you and AARP for the great resources that you provide to our veterans and their families. And I'd also like to thank our veterans and families for everything they do for us because what we do would not be possible without the support from them. So thank you for that. I ditto what Dr. Davis and Rashi have said. You know, these are tough, unique times, and there's not a one-shoe-fits-all to solve all these issues. So I would just recommend to reach out to your local financial institution and try to find some local support. And if you can't find that, feel free to contact me at charlie.koon@myfmbank.com, and I will do my best to find out the answers that you need. So thank you all very much for this opportunity.

[01:29:14]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you, Charlie. And thank you to all of our expert panelists, and thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in the discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. And in the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and prevent its spread to others while taking care of themselves. As I've said before, all the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on May 8  . Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. We also have free resources, tips and tools specifically tailored for veterans and military families about caregiving, fighting fraud, jobs and financial security at aarp.org/veterans. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy today. I want to let you all know, we have a couple of special conversations coming up. Be sure to join us tonight, 7:00 p.m. ET for a conversation with TV personalities and lifestyle experts Ty Pennington of the “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” Carl Hall of “America's Top Chef” and Matt Paxton of “Hoarders.” They will share how we can make the most of our extended time at home while physical distancing and sheltering-in-place orders continue. And next Thursday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET, we'll have a special discussion with Academy Award-winning actress Susan Lucci and AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. Thank you for listening. This concludes our call.

[01:31:13]

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall May 14, 2020, 1 p.m. Veterans

Teleasamblea sobre el Coronavirus: VETERANOS

Participan:

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: vicepresidenta de Programas y Alianzas, Fundación Elizabeth Dole

Lynda Davis, Ph.D.: oficial principal para experiencia de veteranos, Oficina de Asuntos Públicos e Intergubernamentales, Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos de EE.UU.

Charlie Koon: vicepresidente de Desarrollo Corporativo y Militar, F&M Bank

Jean Setzfand: moderadora, vicepresidenta sénior, AARP

Bill Walsh: moderador, vicepresidente, AARP

Bill Walsh: Hola, soy el vicepresidente de AARP, Bill Walsh. Y quiero darle la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus.

AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidaria, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores por más de 60 años.

Ante la situación de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP está proporcionando recursos de información para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

La de hoy es una edición especial de nuestra conversación semanal. Discutiremos los problemas que enfrentan los veteranos y el servicio activo de las Fuerzas Armadas de EE.UU. ante la pandemia de coronavirus, y abordaremos la salud, los recursos y las finanzas. Es una conversación importante si usted, un ser querido, amigo o vecino está en servicio activo, retirado o solía ser miembro del servicio de EE.UU., así que quédese con nosotros.

Si ya participó en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabrá que esto es similar a un programa de radio y tiene la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo.

Si desea hacer una pregunta, presione * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta y lo colocará en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Hola, si recién se une, soy Bill Walsh de AARP. Y quiero darle la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus.

Estaremos hablando con expertos líderes y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Nos acompañará hoy Lynda Davis, MD. Ella es la oficial principal para experiencia de veteranos del Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos de EE.UU., Rashi Romanoff, vicepresidenta de Programas y Alianzas de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, y Charlie Koon, vicepresidente de Desarrollo de Negocios Corporativos Militares en F&M Bank en el área de Clarksville, Tennessee.

También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand. Jean será nuestra organizadora y ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas de hoy.

AARP está convocando esta teleasamblea para ayudarlo a acceder a información sobre el coronavirus. Si bien vemos que AARP cumple un papel importante en el suministro de información y defensa relacionada con el coronavirus, debe tener en cuenta que la mejor fuente de información médica y de salud son los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, y se puede encontrar visitando cdc.gov/coronavirus. Los veteranos también pueden encontrar recursos y beneficios de COVID-19 en va.gov, eso es va.gov.

Este evento está siendo grabado. Puede acceder a la grabación desde AARP.org/elcoronavirus, 24 horas después de finalizar.

Hoy, estamos hablando con expertos sobre cómo proteger su salud y sus finanzas durante la pandemia mundial de coronavirus con un énfasis especial en el servicio activo de las Fuerzas Armadas de EE.UU. y los veteranos y sus familias.

Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Ahora, antes de traer a nuestros invitados, quiero proporcionar una rápida alerta de coronavirus de la Red contra el Fraude, de AARP. Los estafadores continúan usando los titulares como una oportunidad para robar dinero o información personal confidencial. Y sabemos, a partir de nuestra propia investigación, que los veteranos son blanco de un gran volumen de intentos de estafa. Los veteranos tienen el doble de probabilidades que la población general de perder dinero en una estafa.

Si es un veterano, un estafador puede llamarlo haciéndose pasar por la Oficina de Asesoría Jurídica del VA para solicitar un pago para procesar sus reclamos de beneficios.

Sepa que el VA nunca solicitará pago alguno para llevar a cabo su misión de servir a veteranos. También sepa que los estafadores están intentando vender curas, tratamientos y vacunas para coronavirus falsas. Los funcionarios de salud pública y los laboratorios privados están trabajando duro, pero hasta ahora no existe una vacuna, tratamiento o cura para COVID-19 disponible públicamente.

Así que ignore las ofertas que lo sugieren, de lo contrario visite aarp.org/fraude para obtener más información sobre estas y otras estafas o llame a la línea de ayuda de la Red contra el Fraude al 877-908-3360. Eso es 877-908-3360.

También tenemos recursos, consejos y herramientas gratuitos diseñados específicamente para veteranos y familias militares sobre cuidados, lucha contra el fraude, empleos y seguridad financiera en aarp.org/veterans, eso es aarp.org/veterans.

Ahora me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestras dos primeras invitadas.

La Dra. Lynda Davis, se dedica a mejorar la experiencia de todas las personas que utilizan la atención y los beneficios del VA, es la oficial principal para experiencia de veteranos.

La Dra. Davis es reconocida a nivel nacional por su liderazgo en servicios para personal militar, veteranos, sus familias, cuidadores y sobrevivientes. Es la fundadora y directora ejecutiva de la Red de Cuidado de Veteranos Militares dentro de TAPS, y la directora ejecutiva de Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. También es ex clínica de un centro médico del VA, una exoficial de señales del ejército y la madre de un veterano.

Bienvenida, Dra. Davis.

Lynda Davis: Buenas tardes. Es un placer estar con todos ustedes.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias por estar con nosotros.

La siguiente es Rashi Romanoff. Es vicepresidenta de programas y alianzas de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole. Es una profesional de la salud con experiencia que trabajó en el VA del 2010 al 2017. Dirigió alianzas de colaboración con los sectores público y privado valuados en más de $150 millones.

Más recientemente, se desempeñó como directora ejecutiva de Prevención y Población de Salud para los Planes de Seguro de Salud de Estados Unidos. Bienvenida Rashi.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Un placer estar aquí.

Bill Walsh: Un placer tenerla. Gracias a las dos por acompañarnos hoy.

Comencemos con la conversación. Y un simple recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Dra. Davis, comencemos con usted. ¿Cómo se ven afectadas las experiencias de los veteranos de combate y las familias militares con la incertidumbre actual de COVID-19 y cómo responde el VA a sus necesidades?

Lynda Davis: Muchas gracias, nuevamente, por esta oportunidad.

Como veterana, y madre de un veterano, y sobreviviente de varios veteranos a los que he atendido, es un honor estar en el VA.

Y especialmente en un momento como este, cuando es tan importante que garanticemos la seguridad de nuestros veteranos y sus familias, y la accesibilidad a la atención que necesitan. Sabes, tenemos casi 19.2 millones de veteranos vivos con nosotros hoy y más de 9 millones de ellos son mayores de 65 años y a menudo tienen cuidadores.

Tenemos alrededor de 20,000 cuidadores de los 5.5 millones en el país, inscritos en diferentes programas del VA. Y en este momento estamos tratando de hacer todo lo posible para garantizar que su atención siga siendo la mejor del país.

Las experiencias de los veteranos, no se tratan solo de veteranos de combate porque no todos los veteranos han experimentado combate, pero las experiencias de nuestros veteranos y sus familias no son diferentes a las de nuestros civiles. Es decir, están aislados, hay desafíos ante ese aislamiento, estrés, acceso a los servicios de apoyo que necesitan, para aquellos que no tienen coronavirus pero que no pueden acercarse a un centro médico para su atención regular, como diálisis o farmacia, reemplazo de sus medicamentos.

El VA se está comunicando de múltiples maneras para ayudarlos, algunas de las cuales ya mencionaron. Somos muy afortunados de tener ese sitio web que proporciona todo lo que se necesita, pero a veces las personas no pueden acceder fácilmente.

Permítanme comenzar esta conversación destacando nuestro número que está disponible 24/7 para todos los veteranos y familiares y amigos. Esta es la línea directa del VA de la Casa Blanca, el número es 855-948-2311.

Ese es el número más importante, que necesitarán para responder cualquier pregunta que tengan sobre el VA en general, 24/7 es respondido por veteranos capacitados y sus familiares. Y si tienen preguntas sobre el acceso a los servicios clínicos en su centro médico en particular, el mejor número para llamar es 844-698-2311.

Entonces, lo que estamos tratando de hacer es garantizar la seguridad de nuestros veteranos y sus familiares, ya sea que estén experimentando los síntomas de COVID-19 o si solo están tratando de mantener su salud. Y luego hablaré sobre algunas de las formas en que hacemos eso.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, bien, gracias por eso, Dra. Davis y por los números.

Voy a repetirlos ahora mismo o tal vez pueda asegurarse de repetir fuerte y claro y que nuestros oyentes puedan escucharlos en una nota.

Tendremos... Veinticuatro horas después de este evento, tendremos todos los recursos en aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Entonces, Dra. Davis, ¿puede repetir esos números y para qué sirven?

Lynda Davis: Primero que nada, tenemos una línea de llamadas 24/7 que es atendida por veteranos y sus familiares capacitados. Y ellos responderán cualquier pregunta que un veterano o familiar tenga sobre la atención o los beneficios o los servicios conmemorativos. El número es 855-948-2311.

También tenemos un número para preguntas específicas relacionadas con la atención clínica y COVID-19 que es 844-698-2311.

Y finalmente, me gustaría mencionar que tenemos un número para cuidadores de veteranos. Y atiende de 8 a 8, hora estándar del este y ese es 855-260-3274.

Bill Walsh: Bien, ¿y eso es para preguntas relacionadas con el cuidado?

Lynda Davis: Sí, señor.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien.

Dra. Davis, quiero centrarme un poco en una dimensión particular del servicio del VA, la salud mental. Sabemos que los problemas de salud mental requieren vigilancia constante, y la pandemia global ha elevado el nivel de ansiedad y aislamiento para muchas personas.

El VA es muy conocido como un innovador en telesalud. ¿Puede hablar un poco sobre cómo los servicios de salud mental del VA están creciendo y cambiando para satisfacer las necesidades de los veteranos de hoy?

Lynda Davis: Sí. Esto es especialmente especial para mí como psicóloga.

Las capacidades de salud mental del VA han aumentado en aproximadamente un 750% recientemente. Ya que hemos realizado más de 100,000 citas de telesalud, muchas de ellas por problemas de salud mental y emocional.

A menudo es ese aislamiento y el estrés lo que nos lleva a tener síntomas físicos porque sabemos que todo nuestro bienestar se basa en gran medida en nuestra salud mental, y estos son tiempos muy estresantes. Podemos sentirnos nerviosos por la seguridad de nuestros seres queridos a lo lejos, podemos encontrarnos estresados con personas en un área confinada muy pequeña, preocupados por nuestra capacidad de obtener medicamentos, etc.

Nuestra telesalud mental está abordando específicamente estas preocupaciones. Y cada instalación médica tiene la capacidad de proporcionar telesalud mental a los veteranos que quizás hayan estado viendo a un proveedor en el pasado o que ahora necesiten tener un proveedor.

La capacidad de acceder a esos servicios está disponible a través de ese número de línea directa que le mencioné anteriormente, el número 698-2311. Si alguien está preocupado por su salud o salud mental, solo debe llamar a ese número y solicitar una cita con un proveedor de salud mental.

Sí tenemos... A medida que nuestras instalaciones del VA regresan para expandir sus servicios más allá de nuestro enfoque particular en pacientes con COVID-19, podemos servir no solo a los veteranos y sus familiares en la comunidad a través de nuestros Centros de Veteranos, sino que podemos recurrir a nuestras organizaciones aliadas y organizaciones sin fines de lucro, como la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, que brinda servicios y apoyo a los cuidadores, quienes pueden estar bajo estrés.

La Red de Veteranos de Cohen que brinda asistencia a familiares y niños pequeños. Los niños pequeños de veteranos también pueden recibir asistencia a través del programa OneSource en el Departamento de Defensa. Muchos de nuestros veteranos elegibles de AARP serán abuelos, y tienen inquietudes sobre sus propios hijos o quizás sobre los que son cuidadores primarios.

Por lo tanto, los alentamos a que utilicen todos estos recursos y se aseguren de estar bien.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias, Dra. Davis. Preguntemos por los cuidadores.

¿Puede darnos la información más reciente para aquellos que tienen seres queridos en hogares de ancianos y centros de vida asistida del VA? ¿Dónde pueden obtener información y recursos?

Lynda Davis: Bueno, el VA es muy afortunado de tener una comunidad muy sólida.

Nuestras instalaciones de... Lo que llamamos Centros de Vida Comunitaria, no son lo que pensamos a menudo cuando pensamos en hogares de ancianos o centros de rehabilitación o centros de vida asistida, algunos de los cuales estoy usando ahora para mis seres queridos.

Nuestros Centros de vida comunitaria del VA son realmente una extensión de nuestros hospitales. Son centros de cuidados agudos con personal médico y de enfermería muy extenso. Están muy bien monitoreados. Tienen restricciones para los visitantes en este momento, a excepción de ciertas situaciones de cuidado compasivo.

Estos están conectados a otros servicios que pueden ser necesarios, como cuidados paliativos o incluso, en algún momento, hospicio. Tenemos pautas rigurosas que se han implementado y siguen a los CDC. Y los veteranos que están aislados son... Quienes han dado positivo para coronavirus están aislados, pero están recibiendo una atención excepcional allí.

Ahora, una de las cosas, a menudo se confunde que hay hogares de veteranos ancianos estatales. Y, por ley, el VA no tiene autoridad para ingresar a ellos a menos que el gobernador de un estado nos invite a entrar.

Hemos estado yendo a varios lugares con esa invitación para proporcionar nuestro propio personal de enfermería para complementar aquellos hogares que no han podido mantener el ritmo con las necesidades de sus veteranos. Y continuaremos haciendo eso.

También ofrecemos atención domiciliaria que ha sido un poco más difícil de asegurar en este momento, pero la mayoría de nuestros veteranos, por supuesto, no se encuentran en estos Centros de Vida Comunitaria. Están en casa con sus seres queridos. Y necesitan asistencia que se proporciona a través del VA en conjunto con la Administración de Servicios Humanos y de Salud.

Esperamos que la necesidad de ese tipo de servicios en el hogar aumente en un 50% en los próximos 10 años a medida que envejezcamos, y estamos listos para apoyar esas necesidades para nuestros veteranos y sus seres queridos.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, Dra. Davis. Gracias.

Permítanme invitar a Rashi Romanoff de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole a la conversación. Rashi, sabemos que los adultos mayores y aquellos con condiciones de salud crónicas tienen un mayor riesgo de enfermedades graves y complicaciones por coronavirus. Como resultado, muchos cuidadores enfrentan desafíos sin precedentes.

¿Cuáles son algunas de las preocupaciones más críticas de los cuidadores militares y veteranos en la actualidad?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Muchas gracias, Bill, y muchas gracias por invitarme.

Estoy muy entusiasmada por hablar con la audiencia de hoy un poco sobre algunos problemas que enfrentan los cuidadores militares y veteranos. Y muchas gracias a la Dra. Davis. Ella ha sido una líder en este espacio.

Y con razón sabe que cuando uno piensa en cuidadores militares y veteranos, la investigación nos dice que, a nivel nacional, hay al menos 5.5 millones de cuidadores militares y veteranos a nivel nacional, y la Fundación Elizabeth Dole se centra exclusivamente en la necesidad de sistemas de apoyo y establecer recursos y programas para ayudar realmente a la transición de estos cuidadores a estos nuevos roles y a cuidar a los veteranos y sus vidas.

Creo que la Dra. Davis hizo un gran trabajo al describir algunos desafíos específicos que enfrentan la comunidad militar y de veteranos en este momento.

Sabe, en la mejor de las circunstancias, diría que los cuidadores ya se enfrentaban a una serie de desafíos, simplemente superando su día a día. Y creo que COVID-19 obviamente ha introducido un conjunto mucho más complejo de desafíos y obstáculos adicionales que superar.

En los primeros días, cuando se trataba de una de las preocupaciones más importantes o críticas, en los primeros días, en la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, encuestamos a nuestros cuidadores e identificamos algunas de las principales necesidades. Y principalmente, en verdad siguen siendo los suministros médicos, el apoyo mental y de pares, el apoyo financiero y la atención de respaldo. Y hablaré muy brevemente sobre cada uno.

Respecto a los suministros, nuestros datos muestran que más del 40% de nuestros cuidadores militares y veteranos están usando suministros médicos y equipos de protección personal de manera regular.

Ya sabe, cosas como guantes médicos, mascarillas, almohadillas de preparación de alcohol, agua destilada, y estas cosas no solo se necesitan cada vez más en entornos de atención médica, sino que a menudo estos artículos son necesarios para los cuidadores militares y veteranos que brindan atención bastante compleja en el hogar, para asegurarse de brindar atención segura y de calidad en el hogar. Entonces, además de tener cada vez más dificultad para encontrar estas cosas, los precios de estos artículos también han aumentado ya que hay un aumento tan dramático en la demanda. Así que definitivamente eso es algo que creo que es una necesidad crítica para nuestra comunidad.

Lo segundo que mencionaría es que cada vez vemos más necesidades en torno a la salud mental y el apoyo de los cuidadores. En los últimos días, hemos visto picos bastante altos y aumentos para los cuidadores, la salud mental y el apoyo a la salud del comportamiento.

Creo que en los primeros días, se prestaba mucha atención a la salud mental de los veteranos, y creo que eso está evolucionando. Ahora creo que muchos de nosotros en el país estamos en la semana 6, 7, 8, 9 de esta crisis. Y muchas de esas tensiones o cosas a las que nos hemos acostumbrado se han vuelto más desafiantes.

Llevamos haciendo esto en un período prolongado de tiempo. Y esos son algunos de los nuevos desafíos que creo que estamos escuchando de nuestra comunidad de cuidadores.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, ante todos esos desafíos, me pregunto si puede abordar algunas de las estrategias comunes que utilizan los cuidadores y compartir algunos recursos disponibles para ellos.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, absolutamente.

Solo diría que nunca ha sido más importante para nuestro país y nuestras instituciones de salud obtener el apoyo adecuado de los cuidadores. Cada vez más, en todo el país, no solo van a aparecer más y más cuidadores y asumir estos roles, sino como resultado de COVID-19 o las condiciones crónicas existentes, también vamos a tener nuevas personas que empezarán a asumir estos roles.

Nuestro sitio web hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus tiene una lista completa de recursos disponibles, y propongo que todos la visiten.

También mencionaría que hace unas semanas, nos asociamos con AARP para hacer un documento y establecer algunas estrategias. Y hay tres cosas que destacaría para la gente que escucha hoy.

Primero, abastecerse y estar preparado. Creo que muchos de nosotros ya estamos acostumbrados a asegurarnos de que tenemos suficientes artículos esenciales y cosas así. Pero también asegúrense de tener una lista de todos sus medicamentos, todos sus contactos médicos y cualquier otra información clínica importante, y cuélguelos en su refrigerador en caso de que surja algo o deba ir a buscar urgentemente atención médica. Estar preparado es realmente importante.

Número dos, diría, establezca su plan de respaldo. ¿Cuál es el plan de su familia en caso de que alguien en su hogar se infecte? ¿Dónde se van a quedar? ¿Cómo los vas a confinar en un lugar para reducir el riesgo de propagación? Definitivamente me aseguraría de que empiecen a pensar en eso. Y tres, encuentre su comunidad. Ya sabe, para los cuidadores militares y veteranos, sabemos que siempre puede sentirse aislado. Y eso siempre ha sido un problema. Y ahora que todos nos quedamos en casa y nos aislamos voluntariamente, realmente puede contribuir y ser un factor estresante adicional.

Entonces diría, encuentre una comunidad. Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community, de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, es nuestra plataforma digital basada en Facebook. Llega a miles de cuidadores y sirve como un espacio seguro para que los cuidadores busquen asesoramiento y aprendan más sobre nuevos recursos.

También mencionaría con orgullo que acabamos de lanzar una nueva serie de Caregiver Community Connection con nuestros socios en el VA y con Wounded Warrior Project. Y estos serán seminarios web semanales para hablar sobre diferentes temas que los cuidadores encontrarán interesantes. Creo que encontrar a otros cuidadores y comenzar un diálogo y tener esa comunidad para apoyarlo es realmente importante en este momento.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Rashi, muy buenos consejos.

Y sé que para nuestros oyentes, les estamos lanzando muchos recursos, pero les recuerdo que mañana publicaremos la grabación de este evento y todos los recursos en aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

Y también para nuestros oyentes, vamos a atender sus llamadas en un segundo, así que presione * 3 si desea hacer una pregunta y ponerse en la lista.

Rashi, otra pregunta si puede ser. Me pregunto cuál es el significado cuando alguien como el actor Tom Hanks da positivo por COVID-19, él fue muy abierto con respecto a su experiencia. ¿Cómo ayudó eso a crear conciencia y esperanza para nuestros veteranos?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, Tom Hanks definitivamente es parte de nuestra familia de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Sirvió como el embajador de Hidden Heroes. De hecho, es un poco extraño pensarlo. Creo que en esta época, el año pasado estuvimos en Indianápolis con él, haciendo algunos eventos para familias militares y celebrando con ellos en Indiana.

Sabe, tenía un gran compromiso con este sector y con esta población, y ha sido realmente genial y creativo trabajar con él. Creo que cuando se piensa en los primeros días de esta crisis, Tom Hanks y su esposa, Rita Wilson, fueron probablemente algunas de las primeras caras reconocibles que se vieron afectadas por esta enfermedad.

También podrán recordar que hubo mucha desinformación en los primeros días sobre la transmisión y las estrategias de prevención. Y creo que, alguien como él que dé positivo y comparta eso abiertamente, logró dos cosas realmente importantes, no solo para nuestra comunidad de veteranos y cuidadores, sino también para nuestra comunidad más amplia de salud pública.

Una, creo, enfatiza al público que cualquiera, ya sea una celebridad o no, está en riesgo. Si Tom Hanks puede contagiarse de esto, es realmente importante que todos tomemos todas las precauciones. Y dos, usó su plataforma, ya sea Twitter o redes sociales o para socios, para compartir información realmente crítica y útil.

La importancia de tomar la cuarentena realmente en serio, seguir los consejos de expertos, la importancia de proteger a aquellos que podrían estar inmunodeficientes, lo que siempre es importante para nuestra comunidad de veteranos y cuidadores. Creo que usó esa plataforma muy, muy positivamente.

Es extraño pensar que todo eso sucedió hace solo un par de meses. Pero creo que realmente le brindó una atención nacional y consiguió que todos pensaran que realmente tenemos que tomar esto en serio y que cualquiera podría verse afectado.

Bill Walsh: Correcto, y le dio a la gente, creo, muchas esperanzas de que él haya salido bien y se haya recuperado y esté hablando de esa recuperación también.

Muy bien, gracias a ambas, Rashi Romanoff y Dra. Davis. Es hora de abordar sus preguntas con la Dra. Lynda Davis de Asuntos de Veteranos y Rashid Romanoff de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Le recuerdo, presione * 3 en cualquier momento en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP y compartir su pregunta.

También nos acompañará en breve Charlie Koon de F&M Bank. Él está aquí para abordar las consecuencias financieras del coronavirus y responder sus preguntas.

Ahora me gustaría dirigirme, mejor dicho presentar a Jean Setzfand, colega de AARP, que ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas. Bienvenida Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Gracias, Bill. Un gusto estar aquí para esta importante conversación.

Bill Walsh: Bien, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea con nosotros?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Hazel de Oklahoma.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Hazel, bienvenida. Adelante con su pregunta.

Hazel: tengo una pregunta. Mi esposo está en las instalaciones de veteranos de Claremore, Oklahoma. Me gustaría saber si hay algún plan para reabrir.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Gracias, Hazel.

Dra. Davis, ¿puede responder esa pregunta de Hazel en Oklahoma?

Lynda Davis: Sí, Hazel. Muchas gracias por el amoroso cuidado que estoy segura de que su esposo está recibiendo de usted.

Y permítanme decir que lo que estamos haciendo ahora con todas nuestras instalaciones médicas del VA es que estamos analizando cada una para ver cómo reabrimos y aquellas instalaciones que están menos afectadas por la cantidad de personas que han tenido COVID-19 o que todavía están allí con COVID-19, serán las que abran primero.

Con gusto podría averiguar específicamente y responderle, si pueden ayudarnos. Pero déjeme decirle nuevamente, la forma más rápida de averiguarlo, Hazel, si no le importa, es llamar a ese número 844-698-2311 porque pueden informar por instalación, y saben cuándo reabrirán.

No diré reaperturas porque nunca una de nuestras instalaciones del VA ha cerrado, pero se han centrado en los servicios COVID-19 que se necesitan y no siempre han podido proporcionar la otra atención que su esposo pueda necesitar. Por lo tanto, la atención segura suya y de su esposo es nuestra misión principal, y queremos regresar a esos servicios normales lo más rápido posible.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Dra. Davis, me preguntaba si hay algún recurso en línea que la gente pueda verificar para ver el estado de sus instalaciones locales de VA.

Lynda Davis: Sí, en va.gov.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Lynda Davis: Www.va.gov. Pero según mi experiencia, debería tener una conversación mucho más beneficiosa y recursos adicionales, y tal vez recursos aún más actualizados si se toma el tiempo para hablar con alguien.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muy bien. Un recordatorio, para hacerle una pregunta a los panelistas de hoy, presione * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Brandon de Ohio.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Brandon. Adelante con la pregunta. Hola Brandon, ¿está con nosotros?

Brandon: Sí.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, adelante con su pregunta.

Brandon: Queremos saber qué tipo de recursos hay disponibles para ayudar a los veteranos, especialmente a los cuidadores veteranos, de manera que, como individuos, podamos apoyarlos y tener recursos.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Suena como una pregunta de recursos.

Dra. Davis, sé que ha nombrado algunos recursos, tal vez podría volver a mencionarlos y tal vez, Rashi, si tiene algunas sugerencias al respecto también.

Lynda Davis: Brandon, muchas gracias por la atención que le brinda a un veterano. Quizás usted también sea un veterano, pero queremos asegurarnos de que, como dice Rashi, nuestros cuidadores se sientan completamente apoyados.

Tenemos un servicio de apoyo entre pares para veteranos y también para cuidadores. Y si puede anotar el número, se lo volveré a dar. Es 1800-342-9647. Tenemos numerosos servicios para cuidadores, incluido el cuidado de relevo, lo que significa que alguien puede ayudarlo a brindar los servicios que se necesitan y darte un descanso a usted y a otros seres queridos.

Puede ser muy agotador y estresante cuidar a un ser querido 24/7. También tenemos la capacidad de enviar algunos servicios de atención médica a domicilio para ayudarlo, pero lo mejor sería llamar al número que le acabo de dar o al 877-222-8387. Y lo ayudarán con los recursos que le hagan falta.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Y, Brandon, esto es lo que...

Bill Walsh: Bien. Adelante, Rashi.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Le habla Rashi de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Sí, absolutamente, una cosa que realmente recomendaría si es un cuidador es registrarse en nuestro sitio web en hiddenheroes.org. Esa es la forma más fácil de obtener información sobre los diferentes recursos que tenemos.

Sé que mencioné nuestra serie Caregiver Community Connection. Otra cosa en la que hemos estado trabajando muy de cerca con el VA es una serie destacada sobre temas de alta prioridad que están impactando a los veteranos y cuidadores. Y el mes pasado, hicimos una sesión completa sobre el acceso a los servicios de telesalud del VA que es realmente importante en este momento.

Fue una especie de paso a paso de cómo crear una cuenta, qué diferentes recursos están disponibles y luego algunas preguntas y respuestas realmente sólidas. El miércoles, 20 de mayo, la próxima semana, haremos una sesión completa con expertos del VA junto con nuestros socios en Philips sobre recursos de atención médica completos y recursos de autocuidado disponibles para veteranos y familias durante este tiempo.

Así que realmente recomendaría, hay muchas cosas dando vueltas, hiddenheroes.org es un buen lugar donde comenzar y al registrarse allí obtendrá enlaces directos a todos estos diferentes recursos.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien Gracias a ambos por esas sugerencias.

Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos una pregunta proveniente de YouTube de Jeffrey. Es una pregunta de dos partes, así que déjenme leerla para ustedes.

"El sistema del VA está aplazando la mayoría de la atención médica que no es de emergencia, y yo y otros veteranos estamos esperando atención que no es de emergencia. Nuestros veteranos ven cómo sus problemas de salud empeoran debido a estos retrasos".

Y como seguimiento, la pregunta continúa: "Como soy un residente de Illinois, que recibió atención de Misuri. Mi terapeuta no puede reunirse conmigo a través de telesalud. Tienen licencia para practicar solo en el estado de Misuri". Así que creo que esta es una pregunta sobre el sistema VA. Gracias.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Dra. Davis, ¿puede contestar eso?

Como recordatorio, Jeffrey estaba preguntando acerca de la atención que no es de emergencia y si hemos notado que la condición de los veteranos empeora a medida que esas cosas se aplazan.

Lynda Davis: Jeffrey, gracias por esta pregunta. Su pregunta es muy, muy relevante, al igual que con la preocupación de Hazel de que su esposo tenga acceso a sus instalaciones locales.

En primer lugar, nuestra preocupación principal es el regreso seguro, por así decirlo, de nuestros veteranos a sus instalaciones médicas locales o clínicas comunitarias o clínicas de veteranos. Lo que estamos haciendo para complementar la atención de nuestros veteranos durante este tiempo donde el enfoque está en los servicios de COVID-19, es asegurarnos de utilizar a otras autoridades que tenemos, a través de cosas como la atención comunitaria, a través de la Ley MISSION y cuidado en la comunidad.

Podemos apoyar a los veteranos para que vean a practicantes en la comunidad. Y estamos trabajando con ellos, esos son servicios que están autorizados y reembolsados con el VA, pero que pueden hacerse a través de médicos que no son del VA. Así también, si se necesita atención de emergencia o atención de urgencia, la atención de urgencia ahora está cubierta.

Y eso lo puede obtener cualquier veterano en uno de los centros de atención de urgencia o en su sala de emergencias o en nuestros Centros Médicos del VA. Siempre están abiertos a situaciones de emergencia. Con respecto a la telesalud mental, es lamentable que todavía haya restricciones debido a la licencia para que las personas practiquen a través de las fronteras estatales. Estamos trabajando en eso.

Y mientras tanto, si necesita recibir apoyo de un médico diferente al que estaba acostumbrado, nuevamente, le pido que se comunique, Brandon, al 1-844-698-2311.

También hay numerosos programas de apoyo entre pares a través de organizaciones como la Cruz Roja Americana, los Veteranos de Vietnam de América, los Veteranos Discapacitados de América, los Veteranos Americanos Paralizados y también el Proyecto Guerrero Herido.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, Dra. Davis, gracias. Gracias por todas estas preguntas.

Y un simple recordatorio, si tiene una pregunta, presione * 3 para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para ponerse en la lista.

Jean, ¿quién sigue para hacer una pregunta?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Jasmine de Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Jasmine, adelante con su pregunta.

Jasmine: Hola, sí. Mi pregunta es con respecto a la Fundación Elizabeth Dole. Me preguntaba si podría explicar más acerca de los programas que están disponibles para los cuidadores militares y veteranos. ¿Y qué puedo hacer ahora como cuidadora para involucrarme con la fundación durante COVID-19?

Bill Walsh: Rashi Romanoff, ¿puede responder la pregunta de Jasmine?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, absolutamente. Sabe, definitivamente la animaría a hacerlo.

Hay dos maneras en las que creo que puede involucrarse ahora mismo si es una cuidadora militar y veterana. Una es unirse a nuestra comunidad de cuidadores de Hidden Heroes, que es nuestro grupo de Facebook. Sabe, es un gran lugar para compartir consejos, buscar orientación, solo para hablar con otros cuidadores militares y veteranos que hay por ahí.

Algunas de las preguntas que han surgido sobre, acceder a la telesalud o, algunas cuestiones de estado por estado, se hacen muchas de esas mismas preguntas en esa comunidad. Y lo que me encanta de nuestra comunidad de cuidadores de Hidden Heroes es que es una gran oportunidad para obtener información de otros cuidadores que han consultado sobre los mismos problemas, así que eso es algo que puede hacer ahora.

En hiddenheroes.org, si también se registra allí, todo este contenido que hemos estado promoviendo con nuestros socios en el VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Philips y demás, realmente estamos tratando de pensar en ideas de contenido nuevas y creativas.

La semana pasada hicimos una demostración de alimentación y cocina saludable para las personas en el hogar. También hablamos un poco sobre estrategias de respiración y ejercicios que puede usar para lidiar con el estrés Esta tarde, de hecho, vamos a hablar con Operation Gratitude, un poco sobre los esfuerzos de voluntariado virtual y demás.

Creo que es importante tener en cuenta Jasmine, que ahora la gente necesita una amplia gama de diferentes tipos de apoyo. Algunas personas necesitan tipos de apoyo de atención clínica realmente específicos, otras buscan cosas que hacer con sus familias y formas de retribuir.

Por lo tanto, estamos tratando de seleccionar contenido que realmente se centre en todas esas necesidades diferentes. Y queremos trabajar con nuestra comunidad de cuidadores para crear más contenido y trabajar con nuestros socios para responder algunas de estas preguntas desafiantes del día.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, gracias, Rashi. Volvamos a nuestras preguntas.

Jean, ¿quién es el próximo en la lista?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Rebecca de Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Rebecca. Adelante con su pregunta.

Rebecca: Hola. Anteriormente, mi esposo tenía el servicio técnico de su audífono en el Wyoming, en las instalaciones allí. La otra opción sería ir a Loveland, que está igual de lejos para nosotros. Vivimos en un pueblo muy pequeño en las llanuras del noreste, Colorado. Y sus baterías recargables para audífonos están agotadas. Me han dicho anteriormente que no hacían envíos a domicilio. ¿Y qué podemos hacer ahora? Porque ha estado sin audífono durante bastante tiempo.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Rebecca, gracias por esa pregunta.

Dra. Davis, ¿puede abordar las preocupaciones de Rebecca?

Lynda Davis: Bueno, ciertamente espero poder hacerlo.

Lamento mucho las molestias, Rebecca. Esa es una situación realmente difícil para su esposo y para usted. No quiero sonar como un disco rayado, pero estas son circunstancias extraordinarias. Estamos tratando de encontrar formas de poder entregar cosas en estas condiciones. No dependemos simplemente de nuestra propia capacidad para hacerlo.

Trabajamos muy de cerca con otros socios, incluida la Cruz Roja. Una vez más, si el equipo de AARP puede tomar su información, le haré un seguimiento desde el VA. Pero si puede, llame al número 844-698-2311 y dígale específicamente que necesita con urgencia obtener esos audífonos y que necesita que se los proporcionen. Sé que harán todo lo posible.

Permítame darle mi dirección de correo electrónico específica para que usted o cualquier otra persona que tenga una inquietud, pueda comunicarse conmigo. Mi nombre es Lynda, L-Y-N-D-A. Davis, D-A-V-I-S @va.gov. Si me envían su inquietud, al igual que averiguaremos la apertura de las instalaciones de Oklahoma, haremos todo lo posible para asegurarles que obtengan la asistencia que necesitan.

Bill Walsh: Excelente. Dra. Davis, muchas gracias.

Y para nuestros oyentes, han escuchado mencionar muchos recursos aquí hoy, así que mañana todos estos recursos estarán en aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Entonces, si se perdieron el número de teléfono o el sitio web, visite el sitio web de AARP mañana y estará allí.

Entonces, ahora, me gustaría tomar un momento para brindarles una breve actualización sobre lo que AARP ha estado haciendo para proteger a los adultos mayores durante esta pandemia.

Nos centramos en tres prioridades clave relacionadas con el coronavirus, la transparencia en las protecciones para el personal y los residentes de hogares de ancianos, el acceso a los alimentos y la nutrición necesarios y el apoyo a los Gobiernos estatales y locales.

Más de 20,000 muertes por COVID-19, han ocurrido en las instalaciones de atención a largo plazo de nuestra nación que representan una de cada cuatro muertes de coronavirus reportadas. Las oficinas estatales de AARP centran gran parte de su atención y mantienen seguros a los residentes y al personal en estas instalaciones.

Hemos presionado para mejorar el equipo de protección y aumentar la disponibilidad de pruebas. También hemos abogado para abordar la escasez de personal y exigir transparencia en las instalaciones con infecciones conocidas y aumentar el acceso a las visitas virtuales para los residentes, como las llamadas de video. Los esfuerzos de AARP ya han resultado en docenas de cambios en las políticas.

COVID-19 continuará siendo una gran amenaza para los residentes de centros de atención a largo plazo en el futuro cercano, y la defensa de AARP es crucial. Sin embargo, los esfuerzos y el éxito no serían posibles sin las llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos y acciones de los socios de AARP, voluntarios y adultos mayores en todo el país, así que gracias por todo ese apoyo.

Escuchemos hablar más a nuestros invitados. Entremos en el impacto financiero del coronavirus en los hogares y las empresas. Y para eso, nos gustaría dar la bienvenida hoy a Charlie Koon.

Charlie es el vicepresidente de F&M Bank. Sirve como enlace de desarrollo comercial entre F&M Bank y la comunidad militar en Clarksville, Tennessee y Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Trabaja con soldados en servicio activo, veteranos y sus familias. Está comprometido con el progreso económico y el crecimiento a nivel local, estatal y nacional. Anteriormente, se desempeñó como director de Desarrollo de la Fuerza Laboral y Económica, así como enlace entre las industrias nuevas y en expansión en el Departamento de Trabajo de Tennessee, los Centros de Empleo Americanos locales, Workforce Essentials y las empresas existentes.

Gracias por estar con nosotros hoy, Charlie.

Charlie Koon: Sí, señor. Un placer estar aquí. Sabe, ha sido un placer estar en línea con ustedes y escuchar todos los recursos disponibles. Y con suerte, puedo ayudar un poco.

Y voy a hacer como la Dra. Davis. En algún momento, daré mi dirección de correo electrónico porque puede haber una pregunta a la que no pueda darle una respuesta precisa pero con gusto investigaré y averiguaré lo que sea que necesitemos averiguar.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien. Bueno, Charlie, vamos a hacerle algunas preguntas.

Sabe, el coronavirus ha sido un gran golpe financiero para muchos hogares en todo el país. ¿Qué pueden hacer los veteranos con respecto a las facturas y las deudas ante esta crisis repentina? ¿Existen programas especiales de ayuda o apelaciones disponibles para extender o reducir los copagos, los préstamos hipotecarios respaldados por el VA y otras deudas en este momento?

Charlie Koon: Hay algunas cosas a nivel local, y sé que tenemos personas en todo el país. Entonces, lo primero que diría es que usen los recursos del VA. Y sé que la Dra. Davis ha hablado mucho sobre lo que hace el VA, pero han implementado algunos programas para ayudar con las deudas y deudas de salud y las deudas de beneficios. Así que han suspendido todas las acciones sobre deudas de veteranos bajo la jurisdicción del Departamento del Tesoro. Y están suspendiendo el cobro, extendiendo los plazos de pago de las deudas del VA preexistentes. Entonces el VA es definitivamente un gran recurso. Y si pudiera dar un par de números de teléfono.

Bill Walsh: Sí.

Charlie Koon: Para preguntas sobre deudas de beneficios, 1-800-827-0648 y para preguntas sobre deudas de atención médica 888-827-4817. Ahora tenemos muchas... Muchas de estas preguntas... Hay personas que vienen a nuestro banco y otras instituciones financieras también las tienen. Y hay un par de cosas que recomendaría.

Si tiene un banquero o asesor financiero, definitivamente hablaría con ellos sobre algunos recursos porque hay tantos... Son difíciles de enumerar, pero hay tantos a nivel local que podrían aplicarse a los veteranos y sus familias.

Definitivamente buscaría a alguien en quien confíe, alguien con quien yo haya trabajado, hecho cuentas, o mi asesor financiero para obtener algunas respuestas locales.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Y Charlie, ¿te parece que los prestamistas están más abiertos a extender los plazos y los plazos de amortización y demás?

Charlie Koon: Sí, señor. Ya sabe, eso se decide por institución, pero hay muchas, muchas cooperativas de crédito, bancos que son indulgentes, ya sea aplazando el pago o ayudando a reducir los pagos solo para mantener a las personas en el camino correcto.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muy bien.

Charlie, dado el impacto del coronavirus en las pequeñas empresas y comunidades, ¿qué es lo que más deben saber los veteranos para preservar su empleo o negocios? ¿Y cómo pueden ayudarse los veteranos entre sí?

Charlie Koon: Bueno, yo diría que para preservar su empleo debe hablar con su empleador. Lo vemos mucho aquí en Tennessee. Mucha gente ha sido suspendida o despedida, pero realmente creo que la economía va a cambiar, probablemente no tardará mucho, sin embargo, habrá algunas molestias a corto plazo. Pero si se mantiene en contacto con su empleador, creo que su trabajo probablemente estará asegurado a menos que haya algunas circunstancias desafortunadas.

Hay grupos de veteranos en la red. Y estoy seguro de que conocen muchos de ellos. Pero participen en grupos de veteranos de su comunidad. Hay diferentes maneras en que pueden brindar apoyo, brindar información y simplemente ayudar en estos momentos difíciles.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Otra pregunta para usted, Charlie.

Han habido tantas preguntas sobre los cheques de estímulo. Me pregunto si los cheques de estímulo o los pagos adicionales por empleo tienen algún impacto en los beneficios para veteranos.

Charlie Koon: No lo tienen. No se supone que tengan ningún impacto en eso. Así que creo que están cubiertos. Creo que todo el mundo estará bien si recibe uno como veterano.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Muy bien. Bueno, gracias por eso, Charlie. Y volveremos con algunas preguntas más de nuestros oyentes.

Pero antes de que volvamos a sus preguntas, quiero tomarme un momento para agradecer a la Dra. Davis y a todos los oyentes de hoy que han servido a nuestro país en las Fuerzas Armadas de EE.UU. Armed Forces Day, Week se creó a raíz de la consolidación de los servicios militares bajo el Departamento de Defensa de Estados Unidos y se observó por primera vez hace 70 años el 20 de mayo de 1950.

La próxima semana nuestra nación honra formalmente a las seis ramas del ejército estadounidense y tradicionalmente ofrece actividades toda la semana para recordar el servicio pasado y presente de todas las ramas. Si bien estas actividades se silenciarán, nuestros tiempos y los sacrificios de los profesionales médicos solo nos recuerdan el valor y el sacrificio del personal en servicio activo y los veteranos.

No hay mayor honor que servir al país. Y AARP aprecia y honra a quienes han servido, particularmente en el Día de los Caídos, a quienes hicieron el máximo sacrificio en defensa de nuestras libertades. Hoy y todos los días los saludamos por su servicio.

Ahora es momento de responder más preguntas con la Dra. Lynda Davis del VA, Rashi Romanoff de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole y Charlie Koon del F&M Bank. Presione * 3 en cualquier momento en su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para compartir su pregunta.

Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Davis, lo siento, David de Coachella, pido disculpas por eso, California.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. David, de California, adelante con su pregunta.

David: Sí, le estaba preguntando a la joven de AARP sobre algunos problemas de robo de identidad que tuve antes de jubilarme así que congelé todo con las agencias de crédito. Es muy difícil tratar de refinanciar o reajustar un préstamo del VA si no puede uno comunicarse con las agencias de crédito. Es tan difícil, incluso con los números de pin que me dieron cuando congelé por primera vez mis cuentas o congelé mi crédito. Puede obtener uno, pero no puede obtener los otros dos, o puede... Ya sabe, es una situación muy difícil. Son muy limitadas las personas a las que puede uno acceder.

Lo mismo sucede con la oficina de correos, no puede uno enviar algo por correo porque va a tardar 10 veces más en llegar. Entonces, quiero decir, no entiendo cómo se supone que debemos ayudar a corregir nuestras inestabilidades financieras cuando ni siquiera podemos pasar por la agencia de crédito.

Bill Walsh: Sí. Bueno, es un momento desafiante para todas las empresas.

Pero, Charlie, me pregunto si podría ayudar a David. ¿Hay algún consejo para contactarse con las agencias de crédito para abordar problemas de crédito?

Charlie Koon: Esa es una pregunta realmente desafiante, y realmente no me he enfrentado con eso antes. Pero lo que me gustaría ofrecerle, si se comunica conmigo, encontraré esas respuestas y luego se las enviaré a AARP para que las distribuya entre sus socios. Quiero obtener la respuesta más precisa posible, y simplemente no tengo ninguna información.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Dra. Davis, ¿tiene alguna idea de eso? ¿Los Asuntos de Veteranos tiene algún consejo sobre cómo comunicarse con las oficinas de crédito?

Lynda Davis: Permítanme sugerir que, si esto está interfiriendo con su acceso a cualquiera de los beneficios de veterano de alguna manera, tenemos una línea directa específicamente para eso. Y ese número es 800-827-1000. Eso es para la línea directa de beneficios.

También plantearé esto con nuestra Administración de Beneficios para Veteranos porque estoy segura de que es una pregunta y un desafío que otros veteranos además de usted están experimentando.

Hay otro lugar al que podemos ir. El Gobierno federal ahora tiene una Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor, y están específicamente para abordar las preocupaciones de los ciudadanos del país sobre cosas como el fraude de identidad y el robo financiero de la información. Tienen una oficina específica que está dedicada a miembros del servicio militar y veteranos, y su identidad financiera y su integridad y la protección de eso. No tengo el número en este momento. Voy a buscarlo.

Pero estoy segura de que nuestros colegas de AARP se asegurarán de publicar mañana que tienen una división para militares y veteranos en la Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor, y espero que puedan ayudarlo también.

Bill Walsh: Sí, estoy seguro de que ahora mis colegas de AARP están buscando esos recursos. Si no lo recibimos antes del final de la llamada, estarán en aarp.org/elcoronavirus mañana.

Jean, respondamos otra llamada.

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Bernard de Carolina del Norte.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Bernard. Adelante con su pregunta.

Bernard: Sí. Soy un veterano de bombas. Y mi pregunta es, tengo una cita el próximo 22 de junio y necesito transporte. Necesito saber si la instalación aún brinda transporte a los veteranos que lo necesitan.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias por esa pregunta, Bernard.

Dra. Davis o Rashi, ¿pueden abordar eso?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: ¿Puedo confirmar si la pregunta es, si para su próxima cita, todavía puede solicitar ayuda con el transporte a las instalaciones?

Bill Walsh: Sí.

Lynda Davis: Si ese es el caso, señor, queremos asegurarnos de que no se pierda su cita.

A menudo, nuestro transporte es provisto por Veteranos Discapacitados de América. Hacen muchos de los traslados para nuestros veteranos. Entonces, la mejor manera de determinar cuándo y si están operando es que nos dé la información de su instalación local.

Puedo averiguarlo por usted si alguien nos conecta o podemos llamar al número 844-698-2311, y se asegurarán de que tenga transporte.

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias Dra. Davis.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista de preguntas?

Jean Setzfand: Tengo una llamada de Miriam de Washington.

Bill Walsh: Miriam, adelante.

Miriam: Mi padre es veterano y tengo dudas sobre si hay algún recurso para encontrar un servicio de telefonía celular o de internet que esté disponible, que sea menos costoso sin tener que demostrar que uno tiene ingresos extremadamente bajos. Tenemos muchos gastos, gastos de salud y queríamos saber si el VA tiene algún recurso o alguien más.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Dra. Davis, ¿quiere comentar sobre eso? Y, Rashi, si tiene algo que agregar, hágalo.

Lynda Davis: Sí, Miriam, no tener acceso a internet ni a los servicios de telefonía celular no solo es un inconveniente, sino que puede atentar contra la vida. Y actualmente estamos negociando con los principales operadores, y no los nombraré porque si olvido uno, estaré en problemas.

Pero todos los principales operadores están trabajando con nuestra Oficina de Programas Estratégicos para garantizar que las tarifas y la cobertura de toda la banda ancha esté disponible para todos los veteranos, incluidos aquellos en áreas muy remotas como Alaska y los territorios de Yukón, etc. y Guam.

Queremos asegurarnos de que todos puedan comunicarse con su proveedor y tengan acceso a la telesalud. Así que quiero asegurarme de que busquemos cómo lograr una disponibilidad a internet más accesible para su familia. Y nuevamente, puedo buscarle información sobre qué programa específico utilizar.

Y también puedo pedirle que, si puede, llame a nuestro número de línea directa al 855-948-2311, les informe su problema, y ellos le darán una respuesta y una forma de abordarlo. Y nos harán saber qué tan rápido le han respondido.

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Y, Bill, habla Rashi de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole.

Miriam, muchas gracias por la pregunta. Definitivamente, por favor... Si hay una manera de comunicarnos con usted luego de la llamada con AARP, quisiera hablar un poco más sobre esto.

Tenemos asociaciones, tanto con AT&T como con Comcast, y ambos están haciendo ofertas. De alguna manera, depende de dónde viva y exactamente qué hay disponible, pero nos encantaría ponerla en contacto con eso, sé que nuestros socios de Comcast han comenzado a ofrecer su paquete de elementos esenciales de internet de manera mucho más amplia dado que muchas personas están en casa en este momento y el acceso a internet es realmente clave, especialmente para los veteranos y para acceder a citas de telesalud y cosas por el estilo.

Por lo tanto, tenemos algunos recursos excelentes y nos encantaría ponerla en contacto directamente con esos proveedores. Y puede sentirse libre de enviarme un correo electrónico a rashi@elizabethdolefoundation.org o podemos trabajar con Bill y el equipo para conseguir su información de contacto también.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias a las dos.

Y David, de California, preguntó hace unos minutos acerca de cómo comunicarse con las agencias de crédito y uno de nuestros invitados sugirió comunicarse con la Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor.

De hecho, tienen información bastante sólida, para miembros del servicio y créditos. Y puede comunicarse con ellos al 855-411-2372, eso es 855-411-2372. También puede comunicarse con ellos en línea en consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers. Y nuevamente, todos estos recursos estarán disponibles en aarp.org/elcoronavirus a partir de mañana.

Bien, Jean, tiene otra pregunta para nosotros.

Jean Setzfand: Sí. Este es Thomas de Washington.

Bill Walsh: Adelante con su pregunta, Thomas.

Thomas: Hola. Tengo una calificación de SMC del 150% y no he podido recibir mi pago de estímulo, o tengo HELOC y no puedo transferirlo a mi G.I. Bill para obtener un préstamo. Así que he estado probando todo lo posible pero no puedo conectarme.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo.

Charlie, ¿quiere ver si puede responder a la pregunta de Thomas?

Charlie Koon: Sí, se cortó un poco. No escuché su pregunta. ¿Podrías repetirla?

Bill Walsh: Bueno, comenzó diciendo que tenía una calificación de SMC del 160%, pero que tiene problemas para obtener un cheque de estímulo.

También tiene problemas para acceder a su línea de crédito sobre el valor neto de la vivienda. Me pregunto si podemos darle algunos consejos y recursos para abordar... Parece que está en una situación financiera difícil en este momento.

Charlie Koon: Sí. En cuanto al cheque de estímulo, Si alguien pudiera conectarse, ir a irs.gov/coronavirus. Hay una manera, puede hacer clic allí y poner su información, y le dirá cómo y cuándo debería llegar su cheque o si no lo ha recibido.

Si tiene una línea de crédito sobre el valor acumulado de la vivienda, ya debería poder usarla a menos que esté al máximo. Por lo tanto, necesitamos más información sobre la línea de crédito sobre el valor neto de la vivienda, pero si tiene algo de dinero ahí, debería poder usarla.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Y nosotros también hemos estado derivando a las personas a irs.gov para informarse sobre cheques de estímulo.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista de preguntas?

Jean Setzfand: Recibimos una llamada de Richard desde Nueva Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Richard, adelante con su pregunta.

Richard: Yo soy el cuidador de mi esposa, ella tiene Alzheimer. Y solicité asistencia al VA. Han pasado aproximadamente 10 meses. Y cuando lo presenté, aproximadamente un mes después, la señora que lo presentó por mí dice que fue aprobado. Y desde entonces no he sabido nada.

Bill Walsh: ¿Y cuánto tiempo hace de que supo que fue aprobado? Hace 10 meses que supiste que fue aprobado.

Richard: Hace diez, nueve meses.

Bill Walsh: Entre nueve y diez meses.

Dra. Davis, ¿puede abordar la preocupación de Richard?

Lynda Davis: Absolutamente, Richard. Me alegro de que le hayan aprobado, y haya recibido la confirmación de eso. ¿Recibió también algo por escrito?

Bill Walsh: Richard, ¿sigue en la línea? Creo... Creo que parece que no... Parece que alguien le dijo que fue aprobado.

Lynda Davis: De acuerdo. Si. Y eso es siempre... Es bonito escuchar noticias positivas. Pero siempre es importante asegurarnos de recibir las cosas por escrito cuando hablamos de beneficios públicos federales o estatales.

Entonces, para Richard o cualquier otra persona que experimente desafíos con los pagos, incluso Thomas, que estaba hablando de tratar de asegurarse de que obtuviera sus cheques de estímulo, nuestra Administración de Beneficios de Veteranos investigará problemas como este. Y su número nuevamente es 800-827-1000. Pero nuestra línea directa está específicamente diseñada para administrar los casos 24/7.

Si nos dice su nombre y nos da un poco de información, no descansaremos hasta rastrear la fuente o el estado de su solicitud de beneficios y comprendamos si debe hacer algo para asegurarnos de que tenga acceso a los beneficios que se merece. Entonces ese número de línea directa es 855-948-2311.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Richard, si intentaba apuntarlo, era 855-948-2311.

Una pregunta rápida a modo de seguimiento. Me pregunto si es posible que me paguen por cuidar a los seres queridos que son veteranos.

Lynda Davis: Absolutamente. El Congreso aprobó una ley a principios del 2009. Comenzaron a comprender aún más la importancia del papel fundamental que desempeñan los miembros de la familia como cuidadores.

Muchas veces, nuestros veteranos lesionados, enfermos o heridos no quieren estar en un centro médico o de vida asistida, pero sí quieren estar en casa con su familia y es entendible. Y ahora tenemos programas, un programa de asistencia integral para la familia que proporciona estipendios a aquellos miembros de la familia o incluso amigos que tienen el compromiso de cuidar a un veterano elegible que no puede realizar algunas de las actividades de la vida diaria. Y la línea para el cuidador que proporcioné anteriormente es el número al que hay que llamar para obtener información al respecto.

Además, una vez más, la línea directa que acabo de dar, 855-948-2311, creo que me gustaría obtener información sobre todos los programas disponibles para ayudar a los miembros de la familia que son cuidadores de un veterano.

Le proporcionarán eso, pero hay estipendios disponibles para aquellos que califican. Y los ampliaremos el próximo año a los cuidadores de veteranos que resultaron heridos antes del 11 de septiembre. Actualmente, son solo veteranos del 11 de septiembre. Por lo tanto, la población de individuos de AARP como yo, que somos veteranos mayores, aún no seríamos elegibles, pero lo seremos muy pronto. Y es un programa maravilloso para ayudar a los miembros de la familia.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien. Me alegra escuchar eso.

Jean, ¿quién sigue en la lista?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Antoinette del sur de Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Antoinette. Adelante con su pregunta.

Antoinette: Se trata más bien de un comentario. Todos están preocupados por los hogares de ancianos, y deberían estarlo. Pero también hay más de 55 comunidades, condominios que nadie revisa, incluso si lo cubre su seguro de salud.

Realmente no hay nadie que nos cuide para asegurarse de que estamos obteniendo alimentos, que se estén desinfectando las áreas adecuadamente. Ahora la joven con la que hablé preguntó si le dije algo a mi compañía de gestión. No haría estas afirmaciones, si hicieran bien las cosas, pero es algo que hay que analizar.

Hay mucha gente aquí que tiene más de 90 años. Y mi padre era veterano, hay muchos veteranos aquí. Y, ya sabe, estamos adentro, así que no recibimos tanta información. Cuando viajamos, salimos de compras. Pero debe tenerse en cuenta que hay más de 55 de estas comunidades. No parecen estar haciendo tanto en cuanto a mantenernos a salvo como deberían. Eso es todo lo que tengo para decir.

 

Bill Walsh: Antoinette, solo quiero preguntarle antes de que se vaya. ¿Está hablando de un centro de vida asistida o simplemente está hablando de un complejo con todas las personas?

Antoinette: un complejo que existe desde hace mucho tiempo. Y nuevamente, la gente vive más y todos están aquí mucho tiempo. Tengo 77 años. Mi padre vivió hasta los 90 años, mi madre 95. Y, sabe, la gente envejece en el lugar. Esto es lo que... Supongo que debería haber...

Bill Walsh: Claro.

Antoinette: Eso es lo que preocupa. Envejecer en un lugar y no tener la seguridad que deberíamos tener.

Bill Walsh: Claro. De acuerdo, Antoinette, gracias.

Me pregunto si, Rashi, ¿tienes alguna idea sobre el comentario de Antonieta? Realmente está preguntando, supongo, que por la supervisión y la asistencia fuera de un hogar de ancianos o de vida asistida, ya sabe, donde viven las personas mayores en apartamentos o lo que sea. ¿Tiene alguna idea sobre eso?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí. Y muchas gracias por plantear eso, Antoinette.

Creo que, obviamente en lo que respecta a la autoridad, sé que dentro de la vivienda hay diferentes autoridades y agencias locales que tienen requisitos en torno a la seguridad y las condiciones de vida. Diré que esa es probablemente la respuesta más oficial. Y no tengo detalles sobre lo que podría haber disponible en el sur de Florida. Pero creo que el comentario que hace es realmente importante.

Y creo que es importante que todos nosotros tengamos en cuenta, y realmente refuerza... Creo que no solo se trata de individuos y baby boomers y de que todos envejecen, sino de reconocer que mucha gente está ahora, como dijo, envejeciendo en un lugar o no van necesariamente a instituciones.

Es posible que se muden con familiares o que se queden en diferentes tipos de situaciones de condominio. Obviamente, estamos viendo desde la perspectiva del cuidador, mucha más gente que ayuda a abuelos y a padres a medida que envejecen. Así que creo que muchos de los problemas que estás planteando son realmente importantes. Obviamente COVID-19 ha introducido un amplio conjunto de desafíos para varias industrias diferentes.

Y creo que, como resultado de esto, muchos grupos diferentes van a estar pensando en cómo estamos realmente protegiendo a las personas que están envejeciendo en su hogar y cómo estamos consiguiendo recursos para ellos, desde el suministro de comestibles a la limpieza en edificios de apartamentos. Creo que todo va a estar sobre la mesa mientras pensamos en formas de hacer esto de una manera mejor.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias por eso.

Y le recuerdo a nuestros oyentes que si desean hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono en cualquier momento para hablar con un miembro del personal de AARP y ponerse en la lista.

Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Elaine de Nueva York.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Elaine, adelante con su pregunta.

Elaine: Sí, encantada de hablar con usted. Estoy disfrutando mucho su programa, Bill Walsh.

Dra. Davis, tengo una pregunta con respecto a los veteranos de Vietnam. Vengo de una larga línea de veteranos que han fallecido y también mi propio padre era un veterano. Y lo atendieron en el hospital y el centro de VA, tenía que regresar a casa de la guerra, y terminó con leucemia y falleció finalmente en ese hospital.

Pero mi pregunta es, ¿cuáles son los requisitos para obtener servicio dental? Ya sabe, si uno tiene dientes malos o, aquellos veteranos de los que estoy hablando, eso fue en Vietnam.

Bill Walsh: Dra. Davis, ¿puede hablar un poco sobre el servicio dental? Y ella pregunta sobre los parámetros, los requisitos probablemente los umbrales de ingresos, etcétera, que necesita cumplir para obtener esos servicios dentales.

Lynda Davis: Muchas gracias por su servicio a través del servicio de su familia.

Permítanme decir que los requisitos para la atención del VA no está relacionada de ninguna manera con... No está relacionada en primer lugar de ninguna manera con los ingresos. Para determinar la elegibilidad para los niveles de atención, depende de cuándo sirvieron los individuos. Y en este caso, parece que ciertamente, el servicio durante la era de Vietnam califica a alguien para nuestros beneficios, y probablemente ya esté recibiendo... ¿Su ser querido ya recibe atención médica del VA?

Bill Walsh: Elaine ya no está en la línea.

Lynda Davis: De acuerdo.

En primer lugar, si alguien aún no se ha inscrito, la forma más rápida de inscribirse es ir ahora mismo, porque todavía no van a ingresar a las instalaciones... No estoy segura de dónde es en Florida.

Bill Walsh: Ella está en Nueva York en realidad.

Lynda Davis: Oh, de acuerdo, La última oyente, Antoinette, estaba en Florida. Y también le recomendaría a Antoinette que se comunique con el Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos de Florida o incluso con el Centro Médico del VA local, especialmente si puede expresar su preocupación por la seguridad de los veteranos y los miembros de su familia en su complejo de apartamentos.

Pero para Nueva York y el familiar veterano de Vietnam, simplemente... Si aún no está inscrito, la cobertura de atención médica incluye servicios dentales en casi todos los casos. Y por eso queremos asegurarnos de que su ser querido esté inscrito. La mejor manera de hacerlo ahora es llamando al 855-948-2311. Y le ayudarán a determinar la elegibilidad y luego la guiarán a las formas de obtener la atención dental.

La mayoría de las instalaciones tienen esa atención dental disponible en el mismo lugar, en otras debe ir a otro lado. Si no está cerca de una instalación que ofrezca el servicio que necesita, extracción dental, por ejemplo, frenillos o prótesis dentales, la derivaremos a la comunidad más cercana para que reciba esos servicios y se pagarán a través del VA.

Queremos asegurarnos de que la nutrición especialmente, que se convierte en un desafío a medida que envejecemos, y es importante poder tener una buena higiene dental. Así que los aprecio, es una buena pregunta.

Bill Walsh: Bien, Dra. Davis, gracias por esa respuesta.

Entonces, Elaine, parece que la línea directa podría ser el mejor lugar para comenzar a averiguar los parámetros para la cobertura dental.

Jean, ¿quién es el próximo para una pregunta?

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos a Mary de Los Ángeles.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Mary, adelante con su pregunta. Adelante, Mary. Mary, ¿está ahí?

Jean Setzfand: Parece que la perdimos.

Bill Walsh: Bueno, tal vez podamos continuar con quien sea el próximo en la lista.

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien, tenemos a Carl de Pensilvania.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Carl, adelante con su pregunta para nuestro panel.

Carl: Sí, tengo dos preguntas. Me gustaría preguntar sobre el transporte. Los que conducen a los veteranos de la instalación al departamento. Me gustaría saber si a los conductores se les toma la temperatura todos los días. ¿Llevan mascarillas? La otra cosa que me gustaría saber, ¿limpian los vehículos cuando descansan?

Bill Walsh: Bueno, esa es una buena pregunta para la Dra. Davis sobre los conductores y los vehículos que transportan a los veteranos hacia y desde las instalaciones. ¿Los conductores son monitoreados para COVID-19? ¿Y qué se está haciendo para mantener limpios esos vehículos?

Lynda Davis: Carl, esa es una buena pregunta ya sea que esté en Pensilvania o en Texas.

Como mencioné anteriormente, estamos ampliando los servicios a lo que solían ser con una cosa principal en mente, y es la seguridad. Entonces, a medida que abrimos y volvemos a depender y usar los servicios de estos conductores, la limpieza de sus vehículos en nuestro trabajo con grupos como los Veteranos Discapacitados de América será la prioridad número uno.

A partir de su buena pregunta, Carl, y nuestra necesidad de asegurarnos de que nuestros socios externos, ya sean una de nuestras organizaciones de servicios veteranos o si recurrimos al transporte privado, son 100% confiables en términos de su limpieza.

Voy hacerles esta pregunta tanto a nuestros subsecretarios de beneficios como de la salud, y les diré que desea asegurarse de que ese sea el caso, Carl. Y llamaré a los Veteranos Discapacitados de América y me aseguraré de que tengan todo lo necesario para encargarse de eso.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias, Dra. Davis.

Jean, ¿tenemos otra pregunta?

Jean Setzfand: Claro que sí. Tenemos a Lydia de Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hola, Lydia, adelante con su pregunta.

Lydia: Hola, buenas tardes. Me llamo Lydia Rivera. Estoy llamando desde Tampa, Florida. Soy cuidadora de mi madre, ella tiene 90 años. Y me pregunto, ¿cómo pueden los cuidadores voluntarios apoyar a los cuidadores mayores? ¿Y hay recursos locales o iniciativas disponibles para el cuidador?

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Tenemos una pregunta sobre cuidadores.

Rashi, ¿quiere abordar eso?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí, absolutamente. Muchas gracias, Lydia.

En realidad es una pregunta muy oportuna. A las 4 en punto, horario del este, de hoy, vamos a organizar un seminario web sobre oportunidades de voluntariado virtual. Así que espero que pueda asistir y si no, ya sabe, con gusto le daré la siguiente información. Hemos estado escuchando, desde un aspecto personal, historias realmente asombrosas sobre cuidadores y familias militares que hacen mucho para ayudar a otros durante este tiempo de necesidad.

Nuestra fundación tiene el Programa Dole Caregiver Fellows y varios de nuestros compañeros han estado haciendo cosas como diseñar mascarillas y coserlas para enviar a otras personas. Y creo que ha habido cosas realmente emocionantes que hemos estado tratando de compartir todas esas oportunidades a través de nuestras redes y de nuestras diferentes plataformas. Así que a las 4 en punto de hoy, vamos a hablar un poco sobre una actividad virtual de voluntariado que la gente puede hacer con sus familias.

Mencionó lo que podría estar haciendo a nivel local. Yo recomendaría, tenemos un programa de Hidden Heroes Cities en la fundación, y puede sentirse libre de contactarnos para involucrarse. Pero en todo el país, estamos tratando de activar ciudades locales y condados locales para hacer más para crear sistemas locales de apoyo para cuidadores y familias militares en esas comunidades.

A menudo, a nivel nacional, puede ser realmente difícil hacer cosas. Pero una vez que ingresa a una comunidad local y trabaja con el alcalde o con los funcionarios del condado, puede ser realmente creativo y es una gran relación para construir.

También su VA local, también me conectaría con la Dra. Davis por teléfono. Y definitivamente, comuníquese con nosotros porque nos encantaría que se involucre en el trabajo que tenemos en curso en Tampa y ver si hay formas de que podamos realizar algunas actividades de voluntariado allí.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias, Rashi. Y estamos llegando al final de nuestro programa.

Quiero agradecer a la Dra. Lynda Davis, Rashi Romanoff y Charlie Koon. Esta ha sido una sesión realmente informativa. Espero que nuestros oyentes le hayan sacado mucho provecho.

Quiero agradecer a cada uno de ustedes por responder nuestras preguntas, y quiero invitarlos a ofrecer sus ideas o recomendaciones finales.

Dra. Davis, ¿quiere comenzar?

Lynda Davis: Muchas gracias. Agradezco esta oportunidad, Bill. Sobre todo para hablar con los socios de AARP, como yo y también con los veteranos y los seres queridos de veteranos. Gracias por su servicio y aquellos que apoyan a quienes han servido.

Solo quiero dejarlos con una cosa. Nuestro compromiso de proporcionar los mejores beneficios de atención de la más alta calidad y servicios conmemorativos para todos ustedes. Verán incluso una capacidad mejorada en el VA para hacer eso en el futuro, muchos más servicios virtuales en su comunidad de origen a medida que hacemos la transición y garantizamos que su seguridad sigue siendo la máxima prioridad. Quiero instarles a que recuerden un par de números clave.

El primero, si tiene cualquier preocupación es la línea directa 855-948-2311. Para cualquier pregunta relacionada con COVID-19 y el virus 844-698-2311. Y por favor, por favor, si alguien está en crisis o preocupado por su seguridad física o daño a sí mismo u otros, tenemos una Línea de Crisis para Veteranos 24/7. Es 800-273-8255.

Manténganse a salvo, bien, y aguardamos con ansias celebrar, reconocer y recordar a aquellos seres queridos que ya no están con nosotros, en el Día de los Caídos.

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, muchas gracias, Dra. Davis.

Rashi Romanoff, de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole, ¿tienes alguna idea final o recomendación para nuestros oyentes?

Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff: Sí. Muchas gracias Bill. Y muchas gracias a todas las preguntas que surgieron. Fue realmente genial y también hubo una gran diversidad geográfica.

Para terminar, creo que es un momento realmente difícil, para todas las personas. Pero es un momento particularmente difícil para las familias militares. Y a todos los cuidadores militares y veteranos, reconocemos que muchos de ustedes están bajo una gran cantidad de estrés y realmente están balanceando, ya sea teniendo niños en casa o más personas mayores en casa o teniendo que coordinar varias atenciones clínicas a través de telesalud y todas estas modalidades diferentes.

Sabemos que puede ser un momento realmente desafiante. Y creo que solo quiero comunicarles que no están solos y que la gente de la Fundación Elizabeth Dole realmente está aquí para ustedes. Así que, una cosa que le dejaría a todos es que visiten nuestro sitio web, hiddenheroes.org/coronavirus. Hay muchos recursos diferentes disponibles para ustedes.

También hay lugar para preguntas abiertas. Entonces, si alguien tiene preguntas o quiere comunicarse, puede enviarnos un correo electrónico, después de esta llamada, y también podemos tratar de ayudarlos a obtener apoyo. Muchas gracias.

Bill Walsh: Bien, Rashi, muchas gracias.

Y, Charlie Koon de F&M Bank, ¿alguna idea final?

Charlie Koon: Sí, señor. Bill, bueno, antes que nada, gracias a ustedes y AARP por los excelentes recursos que brindan a nuestros veteranos y sus familias.

Y también me gustaría agradecer a nuestros veteranos y familias por todo lo que hacen por nosotros porque lo que hacemos no sería posible sin su apoyo. Así que gracias por eso.

Y como la Dra. Davis y Rashi han dicho, estos son tiempos difíciles y únicos, y no hay una misma solución que resuelva todos estos problemas. Por lo tanto, solo recomendaría que contacten a su institución financiera local y traten de encontrar algún apoyo local.

Y si no pueden encontrar eso, no duden en ponerse en contacto conmigo en charlie.koon@myfmbank.com, y haré todo lo posible para encontrar las respuestas que necesitan. Así que muchas gracias a todos por esta oportunidad.

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Gracias Charlie.

Gracias a todos nuestros expertos panelistas. Y gracias a ustedes, nuestros socios de AARP, voluntarios y oyentes por participar en la discusión de hoy.

AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro, no partidaria, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores durante más de 60 años.

Y ante esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus y y su propagación a otros, mientras se cuidan ellos mismos.

Como he dicho antes, todos los recursos a los que se hace referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, se pueden encontrar en aarp.org/elcoronavirus, a partir del 8 de mayo. Nuevamente, la dirección web es aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

También tenemos recursos gratuitos, consejos y herramientas específicamente diseñados para veteranos y familias militares sobre cuidados, lucha contra el fraude, empleos y seguridad financiera en aarp.org/veterans. Eso es aarp.org/veterans. Esperamos que haya aprendido algo que pueda ayudarlo a mantenerse usted y sus seres queridos saludables hoy. Y quiero que todos sepan que tenemos un par de conversaciones especiales por venir.

Asegúrense de acompañarnos esta noche a las 7:00 p.m., hora del este, para conversar con personajes de la televisión y expertos en estilo de vida Ty Pennington de The Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, Carla Hall of America's Top Chef y Matt Paxton de Hoarders.

Compartirán cómo pueden aprovechar al máximo nuestro tiempo extendido en casa mientras continúan los pedidos de distanciamiento físico y refugio en el hogar. Y el próximo jueves 21 de mayo a la 1:00 pm, hora del este, tendremos una discusión especial con la actriz ganadora del premio Emmy Susan Lucci y la directora ejecutiva de AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins.

Gracias por escuchar. Esto concluye nuestro llamado.

The experts

  • Rashi Venkataraman Romanoff, Vice President of Programs and Partnerships, Elizabeth Dole Foundation
  • Lynda Davis, Ph.D., Chief Veterans Experience Officer, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Charlie Koon, Vice President of Corporate and Military Development, F&M Bank

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


  • October 7Coronavirus: Boosters, Flu Vaccines and Wellness Visits
  • September 23 - Coronavirus: Delta Variant, Boosters & Self Care
  • September 9 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, Caring for Loved Ones & New Work Realities
  • August 26 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, New Work Realities & Managing Finances
  • August 12 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe in Changing Times
  • June 24 - The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era
  • June 17 - Coronavirus: Vaccines And Staying Safe During “Reopening”
  • June 3 - Coronavirus: Your Health, Finances & Housing
  • May 20 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • May 6 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • April 22 - Your Vaccine Questions Answered and Coronavirus: Vaccines and Asian American and Pacific Islanders
  • April 8 - Coronavirus and Latinos: Safety, Protection and Prevention and Vaccines and Caring for Grandkids and Loved Ones
  • April 1Coronavirus and The Black Community: Your Vaccine Questions Answered
  • March 25Coronavirus: The Stimulus, Taxes and Vaccine
  • March 11 - One Year of the Pandemic and Managing Personal Finances and Taxes
  • February 25Coronavirus Vaccines and You
  • February 11 - Coronavirus Vaccines: Your Questions Answered
  • January 28 - Coronavirus: Vaccine Distribution and Protecting Yourself
    & A Virtual World Awaits: Finding Fun, Community and Connections
  • January 14 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying Safe & Coping and Prevention, Vaccines & the Black Community
  • January 7 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Stimulus & Staying Safe
  • Dec 3 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe & Coping This Winter
  • Nov 19 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying and A Caregiver's Thanksgiving
  • Nov 12 - Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • Oct 1 - Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic
  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal