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Posts Tagged ‘Long Term Care’

Why Long Term Care Insurance? (Part 3)

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

         When my generation was young, I believed the only insurance that people cared about was life insurance. Men (mostly) wanted to make sure their families could manage financially upon their death and so they took out life insurance. It was a time when being a homemaker was not seen in a dollar value and as most women had not yet entered the work force, the need to insure “the little woman” wasn’t a priority.


 


         Since then, the world has changed. Replacing the tasks of a stay at home mom by hired help is exorbitant, and so those wives and mothers that work either in the home or outside, often take out the life insurance offered through their work place or privately, right along with their husbands. Living longer and having more complicated life styles has given way to the need for many and varied types of insurance that we look to for protection in the event of crisis, such as Disability insurance, Critical Care Insurance and Long Term Care (LTC) Insurance. As this series of articles deal specifically with LTC Insurance, I’d like to go into some factors about why it is important.

 

         No one plans to get ill, or have an accident that makes us dependent on others for our daily life needs. Yet one in 13 people over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Half of those live in institutions. The risk of stroke doubles every 10 years after age 55, and almost one third of the elderly fall each year. Falls account for 40 percent of admissions to nursing homes.* And it is not just seniors who are at risk of needing help. The average age for a person to be diagnoses with Multiple Sclerosis is 30. Almost all spinal cord injuries (97 percent) occur prior to age 50.** All of these, along with so many other diseases we hear about, as almost common place today, may make getting out of bed, getting washed and getting dressed independently virtually impossible.

 

         When people become ill, their financial expenses rise. There is the need for equipment, whether rented or bought, medication, help with personal care, travel for treatment, the need to hire someone to do the tasks that you used to do like snow removal, grass cutting, home repairs, child care etc. This can very quickly eat up any savings, investments or assets you have worked so hard to provide your family with. It is terrible to watch what you have managed to put away for your old age, or for your grandchildren’s education or your children’s inheritance, disappear in a matter of months because of the care you suddenly need.

 

         Providing care today could easily cost $500 a week, depending on your needs. Most of this is probably not covered by any other insurance you have. If you do not have the financial means to hire people to assist you, the job falls on your children. The emotional burden to both of you is vast. No adult I know wants to become dependent on their children for their basic needs. And for the children to find the time to provide the care you need may involve hiring childcare or lessening their own work hours, both adding to already existing financial and emotional burdens.

 

         Today, insurance policies do not come in a “one size fits all” form. You can tailor make a policy, and the cost will be as varied as the coverage you desire. A LTC Policy can be made to cover facility care and or home care. It can begin immediately upon need or entail a waiting period. It can give you the money for your care or pay upon receiving receipts. It can last from a bit over a year to an unlimited period of time. It all depends on your needs and what you can afford.

 

         It is difficult to determine your needs when you are healthy. That is why the more information on insurance you get the better off you are. Many well spouse groups have had speakers in on the topic of Long Term Care. It seems to be of particular concern to care givers who know first hand just how difficult it is to have to be the caregiver of someone who is ill. As a group, well spouses seem to want to make sure their children do not have to do for them what they have had to do for their spouses. But LTC Insurance is not for everyone and even if it is right for you, not everyone can afford it. It is a very individual decision. It needs to be discussed with your financial advisor or a competent, honest insurance broker.

 

         Next week I’ll discuss some things to look for when choosing a LTC policy.

 

         My thanks again to Terri Allister and Hettie Pfeiffer (hetti.pfeiffer@investorsgroup.com for giving me their time and expertise on the subject of Long Term Care insurance.

 

         You can reach me at  annnovick@hotmail.com

 

           *Alzheimer’s Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Health Canada News Release July 25, 2001.

 

         **MS Society, Canadian Paraplegic Association.

Long Term Care Insurance (Part 1)

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007


(Names and situation changed as requested)


 


         We live in a generation where it is expected that the parents will continuously help their children. Whether it is financial and emotional support after marriage, hosting the next 20 years of Yomim Tovim or having the child move in with you (along with her large family) from before the birth of a grandchild until a month or more after; the expectation is there. And we, the parents, have bought into this. I am not at this time going to go into the pros and cons of this support. Instead, I want to discuss what I feel is a greater gift to our children. That is making sure we are cared for, independent of them, as we become too ill or too old to care for ourselves.

 

         Recently something called Long Term Care insurance has come on the market. This insurance (which I will discuss in more detail next week) ensures that you will have the money to hire help should you need assistance in any of life needs such as bathing, walking, dressing, eating etc. It can mean the difference between a private room and a four-bed room in a facility. It could certainly enable most people, though infirmed, to live the rest of their years in their own home. Being able to stay in your own home, being cared for physically by others and not your children is the greatest gift, I feel, I could give my children and myself. Most well spouses I have talked to, having been caregivers for so long, feel the same.

 

         Though the insurance is expensive, many of us could afford it if we did not take on the task of caring for our children in the presently expected way. Instead, our funds could be invested in our future well-being and that of our children.

 

         Rhoda was not wealthy. In truth, she had trouble making ends meet. Thank G-d her children were all grown and married, and though they struggled financially, they too were able to put food on the table. It was Rhoda’s dream to someday be able to help her children the way her neighbors did. She’d love to help her daughter to buy a house and her son to get a new car. She wanted to give a vacation to this one and a chance to “learn” to that one. But it just wasn’t possible.

 

         Then, Rhoda was unfortunately in a bad car accident. Once she recovered, she discovered the settlement would enable her to help her children in the way she always dreamed about. Rhoda was thrilled and joyously went about fulfilling each of her children’s dreams. She didn’t care that she left nothing for herself. She felt wonderful just doing for her children. Rhoda’s friend Chava was a well spouse. Not only had Chava cared for her husband for most of her married life, but now that she was aging she saw that she too might someday need assistance. It was simply part of the aging process. She talked to Rhoda about putting some of the money into a Long Term Care Policy so she would not need to be dependent on her children as she aged. But Rhoda wanted nothing for herself, and so she gave her children everything she had gotten from the settlement.

 

         Several years later Rhoda had a stroke. She was left unable to care for herself in many ways. The care-giving was left to her family, most of whom were juggling two jobs and large families. They tried their best, but care giving is tedious, stressful and hard work. It takes its toll. The children argued among themselves that not all of them were doing their fair share. The good terms between the siblings started to become a faint memory. Of course, none of this could be hidden from Rhoda who suffered the most by what she felt she was imposing on her children. Had she taken some of the settlement money and provided for illness, should it happen, perhaps they would all have been better off.

 

         It is very hard for many of us to go against what is expected in our communities. Those that can’t meet the expectations often feel inadequate and guilty. But what is expected is not what is always best for the children and or the parents. It is up to each of us to decide for ourselves, what is best for our family as a whole. Sometimes what is really best for our family is to take care of our own needs and wants. It requires courage along with forethought, but it may be the very thing that holds our family together long into future generations.

 

         You can contact me at annnovick@hotmail.com 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/long-term-care-insurance-part-1/2007/10/10/

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