Medical foster homes needed for Louisville-area veterans - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Medical foster homes needed for Louisville-area veterans

Medical foster homes needed for Louisville-area veterans

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Peg Stephens encourages others to open up their homes to foster vets Peg Stephens encourages others to open up their homes to foster vets

HENRYVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) - In rural Henryville, Indiana, 73-year-old Max Frakes eagerly shows us his room, particularly the special plaque hanging on his wall, for participating in nuclear tests during the Vietnam War.

"I graduated from high school, I was 17 and I joined the navy, 13 days later I left," said Frakes. "Some nights I wake up remembering it, yes, I have a lot of bad dreams, I guess you'd call them. You'd walk through the airport and people would spit on you if you were in uniform."  

Now, he is getting the appreciation and care he deserves. He gets three meals a day fixed for him, and therapists and medical care comes to him. "It's really nice because I don't have to really do much of anything that I don't, you know, want to do," laughed Frakes.

After an infection and hospital stay, he knew he needed help managing his health and diabetes. "I was having a lot of problems with low blood sugar and I just pass out. So I need somebody close by," said Frakes.

Frakes is not the the only vet who lives there. Paul Wright is also a Vietnam veteran, and is a collector and amateur artist. He stays busy collecting different odds and ends outside, like rocks, and enjoys different crafts. "The other home I was in, it was quite obstructive, kept you in a lot, had some privacy violations, they didn't know what to do with me. It was more of a bed bound home," said Wright.

At this home in Henryville, they stay busy. This particular home, happens to be on a farm with llamas, alpacas and horses. Frakes and Wright, and another veteran, Buck Finnell, who lives across the street in a medical foster home, enjoy feeding the animals.

Peg Stephens and her husband Ben, a disabled vet, are the homeowners and caregivers. "We have said probably for 35 years, we'd like to do something for veterans because of the suicide rate, because of the homelessness and the gift that they have given all of ..quite as much as what we think they should," said Stephens.

Medical Foster Home Program For Veterans is a national program, and Louisville's Veterans Affairs Hospital has been involved since 2009.

Stephens encourages others to get involved. "It's great for a family who has a mother with young children and wants to stay home and do an extra person to take care of, or someone who's getting ready to retire."

Those interested must have some sort of formal or informal caregiving experience, and have to go through an inspection process.

Veterans must meet qualifications, too. "This is a good alternative for veterans who don't want to go to a facility type atmosphere, with this program they get the one on one care with a caregiver, and the homeowners cannot take care of more than three veterans. so they're getting that one on one care," said Lori Paris, Medical Foster Home program coordinator.

Paris says it is often a cheaper alternative to a nursing facility. "With the caregiver the veteran pays them directly, however, I help the veterans access benefits from the VA so we have a process to help them obtain benefits to help them pay for this care," said Paris.

There are just over 30 foster homes in Kentuckiana but there's always a need for more. "We have caregivers that take care of these veterans to the end of life," said Paris.

"We love it, I would not trade my guys for anything. I fully intend to do this until I can't move anymore," said Stephens.

For information on joining the program as a veteran, or becoming a foster home caregiver, call (502) 287-5995.

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