Think back for a minute. When was the first time you heard of long-term care insurance? Age 30? 50? 65? Never heard of it? It’s a good bet then that you don’t know when to buy long-term care insurance either, or if you should.
When she was younger, Deb didn’t know she should be planning for her long-term care. She didn’t know when to buy long-term care insurance, or that there was an optimum age. In fact, she didn’t even know LTCI existed until she became responsible for her mother’s daily care.
Like most things, if it doesn’t directly affect our daily lives, we often don’t know about problems confronting other people. Or the possible solutions.
Deb recently shared her story with us here at Capital Retention. She hopes to help other families understand the hard realities of caring for a person without long-term care insurance. And the consequences of waiting too long to buy it for yourself.
After a failed ankle replacement left her mother semi-disabled, Deb and her siblings looked into hiring help. They thought a home health care worker could provide in-home care. Unfortunately, they found this to be an expensive option that would cost them $25 to $30 per hour. So they decided that this was not something they could collectively afford on a long-term basis.
As the sibling living nearest to their mother, the responsibility for her daily care fell on Deb’s shoulders. This left her unable to work outside the home. It’s a problem that is all too familiar to millions of Americans. Many have had to sacrifice their careers to provide unpaid care for older friends and family members.
Deb, who is in her sixties, was looking forward to enjoying her retirement. Now, she worries that she may need to dip into her savings to provide continued care for her mother. It’s a prospect that is even more worrisome now that she doesn’t have a monthly salary.
Let’s listen in as Deb explains what she has learned the hard way.
The Long-Term Effects of Long-term Care
Long-term care can have long-term effects on families like Deb’s. Children of elderly parents may need to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations with them about their financial situation. Parents may resent their children’s probes into their finances, and asking if they have funds to provide for their care.
Older caregivers may find themselves paying for their parents’ care costs out of their own retirement savings or social security. While younger caregivers may feel the strain of caring for their parents and their own children at the same time.
The primary caregiver may have to switch to part-time work. Worse, some may not be able to work at all in order to provide full-time care for a parent. Siblings find themselves arguing about whether in-home care is the answer. Or wondering if they should find an alternative solution like an assisted living community.
Relationships suffer when family members feel guilt and stress about the responsibilities that come from providing long-term care for a parent.
Having long-term care insurance helps families focus on what works best for everyone involved without having to make decisions based on the associated costs.
Flexibility in Long-term Care Insurance is Key
Capital Retention has an affordable policy called Flex-Plan Advantage that can be customized to fit most budgets. It provides families peace of mind whether they choose in-home care, assisted living, adult day care, or a nursing facility. Flex-Plan Advantage also allows for a transfer of benefits if hospice care is needed. And it covers specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia services.
Learn more about Flex-Plan Advantage. Or get your questions answered at 800 805 3557.
Deb was worried about her loss of income from not being able to work while caring for her mother full-time. She could have used Flex-Plan’s cash benefit option that provides for payments to friend or family caregivers.
The cash benefit option can also be used for respite care to provide temporary relief for long-term caregivers like Deb. She expected a certain amount of freedom in retirement, as everyone does. As it turned out, she’s no freer as a caregiver than she was as an employee, maybe even less.
Capital Retention’s Care Coordination Service is staffed with licensed health-care practitioners. They are available to assist families in making decisions that work best for their circumstances. And ease their loved one’s transition.
Care Coordinators can guide families toward the best care facilities, if that’s what they choose. Coordinators can also unburden families of necessary details. It’s a relief when they’re already emotional about “putting” their loved one in the hands of professional caregivers.
When to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance
An ideal scenario would see Deb’s mother purchasing long-term care insurance when she was healthy and in her fifties. Her children (especially Deb as the primary caregiver) would be under much less financial and emotional strain. Though it is possible to buy a policy well into your sixties, it is increasingly unaffordable with every passing year.
It is also important to note that you must be in good health with no pre-existing conditions to qualify. Once an injury or illness that requires long-term care occurs, it’s too late. Just like it would be if you tried to buy car insurance after you just got into an accident.
Looking through the Eyes of Your Older Self
Deb has experienced the surprising effects of caring for her mother full-time during her own retirement. She understands that it’s likely she may one day need some level of long-term care herself. She only wishes she could go back in time and tell her younger self to invest in LTC insurance in her fifties.
Though that’s the ideal time to buy long-term care insurance, Deb could still minimize the financial impact on her and her children if she could purchase a policy today. Making sure her children know when to buy long-term care insurance for themselves may have to do.
Ready to make sure you can take care of yourself without burdening your children? Schedule a call.
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