Bracing for a ‘gray tsunami,’ the VA wants to keep more veterans out of nursing homes

On a recent Monday morning in Camarillo, dozens of veterans, their spouses, and grown children settle into their seats at the Ventura County Office of Education, free coffees and sodas in hand, getting ready to hear lawmakers discuss what’s waiting for their families as they enter old age.

The official topic of the congressional field hearing was, “The State of the VA’s Long-Term Care Services.” But it could have been called: “Preparing for The Gray Tsunami.” That’s one nickname for the growing number of aging veterans who will soon need a range of support–in some cases, 24/7 medical attention or memory care. Others may only need some help with day-to-day tasks like bathing, dressing, and getting around.

“It’s abundantly clear that the VA is not prepared for this bubble,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley, who represents Camarillo and is ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health. “We’ve got to get very serious about making sure that we are prepared.”

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