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First State-Run Veterans Nursing Home Welcomes Residents

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FAYETTEVILLE — Forty-three states have one, and now, North Carolina does, too. After several delays, the first state-run Veterans Nursing Home opened in Fayetteville.

The State Veterans Nursing Home welcomed its first resident Monday morning. The cost is competitive with what people would pay at a private home, but leaders say the care is catered toward veterans.

Young Henry Love, 80, will be getting a great deal of attention for a while.

The World War II veteran was the first resident to be admitted to the new veteran's nursing home.

"It's a big plus for North Carolina to have something like this," said Love.

Many lawmakers and veteran leaders agree. They say the $9.5 million nursing home, built with a majority of federal grants, was the state's responsibility.

"It's a way to thank veterans who have served this country by providing adequate long term health care in time of need," said Charles Smith, assistant secretary ofVeterans Affairs.

Although the price to stay at the home is about the same as a private nursing home, nearly half of the daily cost is paid through grants.

The rest can be offset for veterans byVA pension benefitsorMedicaid. Veterans say being among other veterans is important in their aging years, because they can share common experiences.

"They can relate to each other much better," said Love's son, Fred.

Love thinks his father will benefit emotionally and physically. He also likes knowing the new nursing home is next to the VA Medical Center.

"A lot of peace of mind. I'll be able to sleep at night now. Before, it was tough," said Love.

Ninety veterans have already qualified for admittance. The nursing home's 150 beds are expected to be full in about 9 months.

The state hopes to eventually build three more nursing homes.


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