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Managing Long-term Care for Loved Ones It's a full-time job

June 17, 2013

The following is an excerpt from a client conversation that happens frequently in my office: PAA: Have you given any consideration to your long-term needs? Client: Yes, I have, and my children tell me that they will take care of me. PAA: Are your children working? Client: Oh yes, I am so proud! My son-in-law is a surgeon, and my daughter works full-time as an attorney while raising three beautiful children!

PAA: It sounds like your children love you very much and are successful on top of that. Mazel Tov!

CLIENT: Yes, I am very blessed. In fact, they have repeatedly reminded me not to worry about the cost of long-term care. They have plenty of assets to take care of me.

PAA: Well, that sounds wonderful. Have you discussed with your children your desires as to where you would like to reside should you need assistance?

CLIENT: Well, my kids have a spare bedroom, and ever since I lost my husband, I love being near them and my grandchildren. I can move in there. I have also expressed to my children that I really do not want to go to a nursing home. I have had too many friends in them, and I absolutely do not want to spend my final years in one.

PAA: Is there room in their house for an aide to live to assist you while your children are at work?

CLIENT: Why do I need live in help if I am living with my children?

Here is where the conversation with my clients gets a little difficult. Most clients have theoretically considered that they will need long-term care at some point in their lives, but have not thought about the actual logistics of managing and receiving such care. Below is a list of items that individuals need to think about for themselves as they get older.

Do your children have the time to assist you? Managing long-term care for a loved one is a full time job. Not only do the aide’s need to be hired, they need to be managed. Finding good help is not easy. In addition, as your needs increase, the demand on the aides increases. Who will be responsible for coordinating their schedules? Who will do the hiring, and when needed, firing? Hiring an agency does not solve these problems – they still exist.

  • Who will manage your money?
  • Who will take you to your doctor’s appointments?
  • Who will manage your prescriptions?
  • Who will get your food shopping done if you are living on your own?
  • Who will step in when you get the call from the agency “my staff person called in sick; has a flat tire; quit; will not drive in the snow….?”
  • Who will take you to the bathroom when you need help? Most of my clients have a great deal of dignity and prefer that a trained professional deal with personal issues rather than a family member.

Most articles I read concerning long-term care focus on the insurance. Long-term care insurance is a great product if you can afford it and it makes sense, however, it does not consider any of the issues mentioned above. Based on my experience with my clients the issues outlined above are far more important than how the care is paid for. If you have not thought about these issues and discussed them with your family, then now is the time. It is much easier on your caregivers when they know exactly what it is you want and what is most important to you.

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