In my three decades of focusing on long-term care coverage, I have seen it many times. The woman of the house – who did the majority of the child raising, managing the house, and caring for her aging husband (probably an income earner too) – never was planned for and had very limited resources when she needed care. It is no one’s fault, really. Families are just used to thinking of mom as the rock that will always be there.
Usually the kids help as much as they can, if they live close enough and they find time while raising there own families. Sometimes mom moves in with one of the kids. Sometimes she wants to stay at the family home, where she made most of her memories and have the kids and grand kids visit her there. She might decide on an independent living facility so she can socialize with folks she relates to. She can have the family come there to see her.
Sometimes she is alone, no children, few relatives, and would really prefer to be in a facility where she can interact with people. She is not interested in staying home.
What almost all of these women have in common is: they don’t want to be a burden on their families, they don’t want their kids helping them with very personal things (like changing their diapers and bathing them), and they want to leave something from their estate to their kids and grandkids. In short, they want independence for as long as possible, dignity, security, and a little fun. I’ll bet they earned all those things.
What do you do? The best thing is to lay out a strategy early and lock it in. Waiting is costly. Planning isn’t the end of the process; it is the beginning.
People think that programs like Medicare cover long-term care, they don’t. The only program in California that does help with long-term care is MediCal. It is designed for impoverished people who need substantial assistance with the acts of daily living (i.e., dressing, bathing, toileting, and so forth).
Financing long-term care is up to the individual. There are tools available to assist the family with mom’s long-term care.
For example, there is coverage available that can take care of all of mom’s long-term care needs, in any setting (home, a facility, an adult day care center, etc.) and, if she use all the long-term care benefits, there is a life insurance feature that passes the remainder to her beneficiaries. In fact, this coverage can be purchased jointly with dad and it can provide long-term care benefits to each or both, for a lifetime (as well as the life insurance benefit if the long-term care benefit isn’t used up).
Long-term care insurance coverage should be purchased as early as possible. The closer the insured person is to possibly needing the care, the more expensive it becomes.
Many of the families I meet with tell me they have been through taking care of an aging relative. They say that they want to secure long-term care coverage so their kids or relatives do not have to go through that with them.
If you have questions, need additional information, or want to refer a friend or relative, please call. There is never a charge for consultations and we will do our best for anyone you refer.