More Than 30 Veterans and Spouses Show up for Sweet Water at Largo "Open House"

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A standing-room-only crowd of more than 30 people showed up for the Sweet Water at Largo ( "Open House" for veterans and their surviving spouses. The topic was "VA Pension: Aid and Attendance." The guest speaker answered many questions, including how to qualify for additional income from the VA to help pay assisted living and nursing home expenses.

Michael and Kory Stoeckle have worked hard for more than 10 years to make Sweet Water at Largo ( a special place for residents, but they also want their assisted living facility to be a resource for the community -- and a recent "Open House" did just that.

More than 30 people showed up at an "Open House" May 12 for veterans and their surviving spouses. The topic was "VA Pension: Aid and Attendance."

The guest speaker for the event was Lori Gable, who works for Veterans Pension Resource, which describes itself as "a private company that helps wartime veterans and their surviving spouses to qualify for additional monthly income to help pay for expenses such as home health and assisted living facility care."

The presentation took place in the activities room of the assisted living facility, which is located at 11290 Walsingham Rd., Largo, FL 33778.

Sweet Water's Michael Stoeckle spoke highly of Gable. "She knows and understands the VA rules and the Medicaid rules to assist veterans and their surviving spouses receive benefits," he said

The audience had a wide variety of questions, but a key element of the presentation was who qualifies for the benefit. According to Gable, there are three requirements: 1) Wartime Service 2) Medical and 3) Financial.

Here are the Wartime Service Requirements: The veteran must have had an honorable active military service and, also, be a veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran who served 90 days of continuous, active duty military service, with one day during a wartime period.

Wartime Periods were defined as:
World War II: Dec. 7, 1941 through Dec. 31, 1946
Korean War: June 27, 1950 through Jan. 31, 1955
Vietnam War: Feb. 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975
In Vietnam from Feb. 28, 1961 through Aug. 4, 1964

Medical Requirement: The Veteran or surviving spouse must require assistance to perform two or more Activities of Daily Living (ADL). The ADL examples include monitored medications, bathing, toileting, dressing, walking.

Financial Requirement: Because each family's resources can vary widely, assets, income and expenses are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Perhaps the question most were interested in was "How much income can I receive?"

That answer: It depends. For example, veterans who are single can for qualify up to $1,644 per month, while a married Veteran can qualify up to $1,949. For a surviving spouse, it's up to $1,056 per month.

After the presentation, attendees were treated a wide variety of snacks, including veggies, meat, cheese and, for those with a sweet tooth, cup cakes. More than half the people lingered in the activities room to ask questions of Gable about their particular need.

Others clustered around Administrator/Owner Kory Stoeckle and asked about various aspects of the Sweet Water at Largo. A number of visitors choose to take a tour of the facility.

Stoeckle and her husband, Michael, became involved in senior assisted living nearly a dozen years ago. They were looking for a special niche in terms of senior housing, something more personal than large corporate assisted living facilities but, at the same time, more refined than converted homes offered by "Mom and Pop" operations.

The Stoeckles decided to develop their own special formula and eventually created what they call "Excellence in Senior Care" for their residents. The "Open House" program for veterans and their surviving spouses was an example of that personalized approach.

Sweet Water at Largo is at 11290 Walsingham Rd., Largo, FL, 33778. It is licensed by the state of Florida Agency for Health Care Administration as an Assisted Living Facility. License # AL8175.

For more information about Sweet Water's senior living offerings or to schedule a tour of the facility, call (727) 397-9597, (813) 389-1045 or visit


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