Imagine how your life would change if you had to look after a parent.
Chances are either you or someone you know has had to alter their life to account for an aging parent’s needs. Most families will, and do, find a way to provide care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, very often, family-members find caring for a parent is more difficult than they thought. It is natural to think that a long term care event will not affect you and your family.
But what if it did?
It normally starts like this; Dad starts to slow down, but Mom’s taking care of him. Then suddenly, one day, he’s gone. Mom is alone for the first time in her life. She is strong, she will be fine, until an accident or serious illness changes everything, permanently.
She will need help and you are all she has. But you are in no position to take care of her
daily needs yourself. Whether it’s time, money, geography, physical ability, or a combination,
you simply can’t do it.
What if you had to move? Or move your parent in with you?
What if it wiped out your parent’s savings but there were still more bills? How would those bills be paid?
What if it affected your job? Or your spouse’s job?
What if you had to put your parent into a nursing home, or other care facility?
This is not something a lot of people like to think about. It’s human nature to hope for good future events, and that this will never happen. It’s why so many people are unprepared for all kinds of unpleasant situations and conditions: financial and personal; health and lifestyle; responsibility and regret. It can be hard to face things like this before they happen. But if you do, you might be very glad that you did.
The saying is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to planning for long term care. Having a plan in place and a conversation with family on your wishes will help preserve your own lifestyle and sanity, not to mention helping your parents have what they want: support in meeting their health needs; a way to sustain financial solvency; and a sense of pride and comfort of being able to continue living in their own
home or community.
Since you’re reading this newsletter, you know where we’re going. You should talk with your parents while they’re still “of sound mind and body” (one of few legal phrases that actually convey their meaning simply, clearly and directly) about long term care and the possible benefits of getting long term care insurance. The Talk won’t be as much fun as going to the ballpark and watching a game together (you could combine them, come to think of it) but its potential future benefits far outweigh its immediate unpleasantness.
Just because you envision a long and healthy future for your parents doesn’t mean you should ignore the possibility of a less rosy outcome. So talk to them about long term care and long term care insurance.
Because, what if you don’t?