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Two different families. Two different outcomes. Within my own family is a couple; he’s turning 97 and she’s 91. Living a very long life is more of the norm these days. His dementia (now advanced) had been progressing for years. Her Alzheimer’s symptoms have been worsening as well. Both spouses had been paying their long term care insurance premium for many years….they got their policies when they were relatively young “just in case”, not that they thought they’d actually need to use them.

When forgetfulness kicked in for him, we strongly suggested they move from their home to Independent Living. Soon it became apparent he needed more attention and care, so he was moved again to the Assisted side of the facility. She visited him twice a day, every day. Then her cognition worsened, and she was also moved to the Assisted side. Their togetherness didn’t last long when he was completely unable to take care of himself in all areas and he was moved again to the Memory side of the facility. Before too long she began to wander, and she too needed to be in the Memory Care wing.

If there is a silver lining, it’s their long term care insurance policies cover the bulk of their expenses. When they got their policies, if you had asked me if something like this would happen to them, I probably would have said “Not a chance”. They were highly independent and sharp; my role models. But life happens.

On the other hand, my friend’s mother had a major stroke. She didn’t have a spouse and had never even thought about long term care insurance. My friend and her brother trade off taking care of Mom at home, not wanting to place her in a Nursing Home. Their own family time has suffered significantly, as have their mental health and careers. Mom’s limited resources have been contributing to a part-time aide to help her adult children, but it’s not enough. The situation isn’t sustainable in the long run and it’s terribly sad to see the impact on their family. I try to be there for my friend as moral support, but I can’t help but think “What if Mom had a long term care insurance policy?” How different all their lives would be. 

My thought is that this protection should be researched while it’s still possible…. and think about the consequences to your loved ones if you don’t.