Archive for February, 2012

Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

It’s quiet now. Finally, a few moments to myself. My sister is gone, and dad is resting – sort of. Please, God, let him breathe without gasping, this one night. I’m so tired. But the day is not over for me. Tonight is my night to help out. Three nights ago it was my night, too. Dad and I spent much of it struggling – him to catch his breath, me to keep my composure.

Tonight he seems a little stronger, but he’s still so weak. Hard to believe he was golfing a few weeks ago. How quickly life changes, and how vulnerable we feel as children. Dad has been our only parent for the past 22 years – the memories, the history of a family, all gain new significance during this trying period. Now my sister and I assume the role of “grown-ups.” Will we soon become the oldest generation in our family?

For a week we take turns around the clock, bathing him, dressing him and trying to find something he will eat – all done with the vision of keeping him home and not moving into a nursing home. We struggle between our commitment to provide for our father and out inability to do so as his condition worsens. After much discussion dad is the one who decides that his best chance for recovery is the nursing home. It is extremely difficult for us to take dad away from his home – but a decision made easier because six years earlier, when dad turned 70, my sister and I purchased Long-Term Care Insurance for him. He knew I was selling it and looked into the insurance out of fear that his bills might literally cost him the farm. He knew things could change quickly at his age. In this case he was right.

As a Long-Term Care Insurance sales professional, I now know why my clients often say they’re buying Long-Term Care Insurance to stay out of a nursing home, Many people envision the nursing home as a crowded, noisy place with little privacy. Unfortunately, they’re not far off. Spend any amount of time in one, and you will soon discover how important a private room is to one’s dignity.

One night when Dad and I were watching the Chicago Cubs on TV, he said, “You know the best thing about this insurance you kids bought for me?” He looked at me and Said, “I don’t share my room with anyone, and no one else uses my bathroom.” He then noted how difficult it was for so many of his friends who did share rooms with those who suffered from dementia, incontinence and other frailties of old age. Another lesson learned from dad: Dignity is as important as 87 as it is at 57, 27, or 7. Long-Term Care Insurance gave my father a room to himself and the dignity he deserved.

The insurance also took the burden off us kids to provide care, giving us the freedom to just love our father…to sit up late watching the Cubs, to laugh, to cement memories and to honor this man we called dad. These things were nearly impossible when we were taking care of him at home. Exhaustion and fear do not leave time for that.

Long-Term Care Insurance is designed to help people live independently as long as possible, even with a chronic illness, physical disability or cognitive disorder. Aging gracefully has never been easier because Long-Term Care Insurance does indeed allow a much higher level of coping, both for the patient and their family. It can include medical treatment, skilled nursing, assisted living and help with basic daily functions such a dressing, bathing, household chores and required therapy. It was a relief that, when dad needed those things, the professionals came in the door and we walked out the door, leaving the care to them.

The burden for asset preservation is ours. The scary prospect that our nest eggs might someday be spent on assistance with our daily functions needs to be dealt with today. Long-Term Care is a blind spot in our culture’s collective consciousness and a weakness in our financial planning that must be addressed now, not later.

Today my sister and I remember dad just the way he wanted to be remembered – and the way we want to remember him. The greatest gift I have given to myself and my own children is my Long-Term Care coverage. I know I will be able to age gracefully and with dignity and choice.

Abe Glickman, LTCA, LTCP
Abe Glickman Insurance Group
Toll-Free Phone: 877-298-5824

“It is better to create a plan 10 years too soon than one day too late.”

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