As veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam grow older, with some of the youngest in their late sixties or early seventies, more veterans are being admitted to hospice care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Commonly referred to as as “end of life” care, many of these older veterans find that past experiences resurface as they make their final preparations, according to a new piece from NPR.
Although some of the memories come in the form of flashbacks, many find it to be a cathartic release — a chance to get something long dormant off of their chests. With half a million veterans expected to need end of life care in the next five years, the VA is stepping up the level of care it provides. Hospice care providers are on hand to ensure their patients are well cared for.
“I think they call it end-of-life care,” said Thomas O’Neil, a 68-year-old veteran and resident at the St. Albans VA hospital in Queens, New York. “But whatever it is … they treat you like gold. If you’re going to be sick, this is the place to be.”