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Veterans Care - Mission And Service Delivery Structure, Demographic Trends, Clinical Programs In Aging, Research In Aging

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Since the 1970s, the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has responded to a vital demographic trend: Although the total number of veterans is declining, the proportion of older veterans is increasing dramatically. In addition, the proportion of older persons in the veteran population far exceeds the proportion of older persons in the U.S. population in general. Anticipating the needs of a rapidly aging veteran population, VA initiated a comprehensive, three-pronged plan encompassing clinical services, research, and education and training. In meeting the challenge of this aging imperative, VA has become recognized as a national leader in the development and implementation of innovative health care services for older persons (Cooley, Goodwin-Beck, and Salerno). This entry summarizes VA’s mission and health care service delivery structure; demographic trends in the veteran population; VA’s aging-related clinical programs, research, and health care provider education and training; and examples of emerging VA initiatives in aging.

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