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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Long Term Care's Impact On The Family

"Families are not necessarily drawn together in a time of crisis. Very often, they are blown apart." says Nancy Dykeman, an educator of long term care planners.

Nancy illustrates this problem with an example:
Imagine a young family. The father is working toward a career promotion; he coaches his kids' soccer teams. His wife works part time. They have two children. The mom's parents are retired, healthy and live in Arizona, playing golf and loving life. Then the unthinkable happens - the young mom suffers a stroke. Months of rehabilitation and care at home follow. Grandma and Grandpa travel back and forth from Arizona, often staying for long periods to help, even though their retirement dream is slipping away.

Dad must continue working to support his family, but his employer is tired of the time he spends on the phone and his coming in late or leaving early. A promotion is off the table.

What about the kids? Their mom, confidante and best friend is hurting and no longer fun. All of her energy goes into trying to recover. Kids' roles change too. They must help prepare meals, keep things picked up, and support their dad and grandparents.

Who knew this young wife and mother would need long-term care? Would the impact be different had it been one of the grandparents? Whenever anyone of any age needs long term care, it's a family issue.

Dykeman says that Long-term care insurance (LTCI) would have been a priceless gift for this family because it "protects the family, allowing them to think and work together without the stress and sacrifice of constant crisis mode." It also allows each family member to keep their normal role, rather than that of a caregiver.

Make sure you have a plan - it's critical for all adults, of any age. Whether it includes long term care insurance, annuities, or Medicaid planning and asset protection, consult with a professional to ensure you and your family are taken care of.
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