Unusual 100th Birthday for Arkansas Senior
What would you do on your 100th birthday? Katherine (Alice) Taylor, of Pleasant Plains, Arkansas, has been celebrating hers with family and friends. Yet on her actual birthday, November 16, she says she was cleaning her junk drawer with help of her caregiver, Dylana Woodson, from White Rivers Area Agency On Aging. Katherine, a surviving spouse of a WWII veteran and the mother of seven children and many grandchildren receives help from a variety of sources including Veterans Home Care’s VetAssist Program and virtual help from Alexa.
When The Old Wedding Ring Was New
Katherine holding the wedding rings she and her late husband began wearing during World War II on their wedding day February 14, 1943.
Perhaps the appeal of the drawer was her late husband’s wedding ring. “This ring has worn thin over the years,” she says happily remembering Henry Z. Taylor whom she married on Valentine’s Day 1943 during the height of World War II. Henry served as a sergeant in the Army Air Force’s 599th Bombardment Squadron and received a Good Conduct Medal and the European African Middle Eastern Service Ribbon for the campaigns of: Air Offensive Europe, Normandy, North France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe, according to his honorable discharge records.
“I had the very best husband,” says Katherine. During the war, Katherine gave birth to her first daughter. When asked what it was like to have a baby while your husband was overseas in harm’s way she said, “like everybody else back then, I just had to hope and pray for him.” Henry survived the war and returned to Arkansas. “The rest of our kids came along every two or three years.” In 1988 at the age of 78, Henry died of heart disease.
Late Husband’s Service Qualifies His Widow for Benefits
Due to his military service, Katherine qualified for a little-known VA benefit called Aid and Attendance that covers the cost of her in-home care. About five years ago, after her youngest daughter contacted their local Area Agency on Aging, Katherine was referred to VetAssist, a service of Veterans Home Care, a private company that assists veterans and their survivors with VA paperwork. White Rivers Agency on Aging is a contracted home care provider in the VetAssist network.
“Katherine is truly incredible,” says her caregiver. “She has wonderful stories, a beautiful family and is as smart as a tac. It’s my pleasure to assist her with whatever she needs and deal the Skip Bo cards for a game or two. I just adore her.”
Sarah Akins, VetAssist Regional Manager in Jonesboro, Arkansas works with White Rivers Area Agency on Aging and others to help veterans and veterans’ widows claim the VA Aid and Attendance benefit they’re entitled to. “Katherine signed up with VetAssist at age 94 and has been receiving care with no-out-of-pocket costs since then. Many are eligible—long before their 94th birthdays but just don’t realize it,” says Akin.
Arkansas Senior Embraces the Internet and Alexa
There’s something else unusual about this 100-year-old Arkansas senior. Along with hands-on support from her caregiver, children and grandchildren, Katherine has turned to the internet to remain active. She has a FaceBook page for socializing virtually with friends and family. When Veterans Home Care launched new Alexa-powered technology called VetAssist Companion, Katherine signed up.
“The VetAssist Companion is pre-programmed technology tailored for each client,” says Sarah Akins. It replaces a traditional medical alert device and is a voice-activated video and phone calling system with the virtual assistance of Alexa. In an emergency, users can say, “Alexa, call for help” to be contact a 24/7 urgent response center.
“I can ask Alexa just about anything like play music or play a game of trivia. My granddaughter and I use it to solve crossword puzzles,” says Katherine.
“I’m practically blind, but otherwise pretty healthy. I truly appreciate all the help I can get. I would recommend White Rivers Agency on Aging and VetAssist to everyone.”
Veterans Home Care wishes Katherine a happy 100th birthday and many more.
For more information on the VetAssist Program, call 888-314-6075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org