Charleston VA looking for more veteran caregivers as number of aging patients grows

Charleston VA looking for more veteran caregivers as number of aging patients grows

CROSS, SC (WCSC) - The Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center is looking for more caregivers for veterans. It’s part of the Medical Foster Home program which helps aging vets who might not be able to afford other care.

Right now, the Charleston VA has seven caregivers who in total host 13 veterans. It all comes as this VA is seeing some of the fastest rates of patient growth in the nation. In 2018, its patient growth rate was 4-percent.

“Each time we have a spot open up with a caregiver, it is immediately filled by a veteran in need of that level of care,” Erin Curran, a spokesperson at the VA, said.

A caregiver goes through a rigorous application and certification process, and it’s all led by Natasha Simeon-Major who is the Medical Foster Home program coordinator in Charleston.

She said a caregiver needs to own their own home, provide a private room to the veteran, and provide 24/7 care.

“The biggest thing is they have a heart to nurture and care for someone in their own private homes,” Simeon-Major said. “So we’re not looking for institutions, we’re looking for families. People with hearts to care for someone.”

The average pay is between $1,700 and $3,000 per month which is a contract between the caregiver and the veteran.

Rosetta Shaw has now hosted seven veterans in her home over the past four-and-a-half years.

“Do it from the heart. Don’t just do it because you figure you can gain from this. Don’t do it for that reason,” she said. “Do it because you know that you’re helping somebody especially in their last days.”

Shaw just had another one of her older veterans pass away. It’s the third she has been with when they died.

"I just felt so good about it, even when he passed, because his last days were good days,” Shaw said. “I know they were good days, because we sat on the porch, we laughed, and it gave me a little more push saying continue to do this."

If you’re interested in signing up to be a caregiver or just learning more feel free to call Natasha Simeon-Major at 843-577-5011.

VIDEO: Charleston VA looking for more veteran caregivers as number of aging patients grows

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