When you imagine hearing aids, canes, knee pain, memory issues, and heart problems, you might think of a grandparent or elderly person. But these also describe a military veteran in their late 30s or early 40s who served on numerous deployments, worked on a flight line, or parachuted from aircraft for a living. New military inductees are some of the healthiest people in our society but, by the end of their careers many find themselves coping with accelerated aging processes that combine natural aging with the service-related wear and tear on their bodies and minds.
Veterans’ needs are unique, and the AMVETS-NCOA partnership provides a model for helping them age well called HEAL (healthcare, evaluation, advocacy, and legislation) and AMP (Aging Mastery Program). Together, they encompass all necessary steps to intervene directly on behalf of veterans, service members, families, and caregivers to reduce veteran unemployment, homelessness, and hopelessness, particularly for those who are at the highest risk of suicide. AMP then offers classes that help veterans achieve meaningful, measurable, and enduring changes in their health, finances, life enrichment, and advance care planning.