Families open their homes to aging veterans

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More and more aging veterans are choosing foster homes and a family setting over large nursing homes. 

Through the VA's Medical Foster Homes program, veterans use their VA benefits to pay the caregiver for the home-based care, including meals and other needs. 

"Medical foster homes work because it allows veterans to live in a homelike environment and still receive the medical care they need, but be embraced by family," said Carla Barbour of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For many veterans, a foster home is just the right fit.  And their foster families agree.

Caregiver Tammy Norton started with her father.  "He wanted his own house and I came to help him get his own house.  Then he wanted to help other veterans in the same situation as he was," she explained.

Nat Legend is one of the veterans helped by Norton. The 99-year-old is a veteran of the Army Air Corps. He was a bombardier in World War II. He's one of the millions who served our country through war and peace. 

"I have been invited to Tammy's family on several occasions. I'm treated like I am a member of the family," he said.

Norton said caring for veterans is a labor of love.

"Seeing them have full lives, being happy with where they are and what they're doing and what they're able to do," offered Norton.

They also get out of the house at 'Vet Togethers.'  Vets and caregivers can socialize.  But when it's time to go home, they head to a real home.

"It's home," added Legend.  "To me, it represents everything that home was,"

For more information on the VA's Medical Foster Homes program: http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20110228a.asp