Planning for what lies ahead- Long Term Care

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There are topics that are anything but pleasant to discuss with your loved ones.  It’s not easy, nor comfortable, nor fun to discuss the “down the road” possibilities.  I’m grateful to my parents for having these conversations about long term care, and communicating their wishes to me and explaining to us WHY these  things are important to plan for.  None of us knew what lay in store for them- we all assumed they’d worked hard, planned well and saved for a fun, Carribbean-beach resort style retirement.  My mom retired in 2008 at 65 and 1 day.  She died in 2009 at 66 and 1 month, having been very ill and bedridden for that entire time due to complications of COPD and Emphysema.  She wasn’t ever able to stop smoking.  I’m sure that was in her thought process somewhere even though like many, she thought herself to be invincible. She wasn’t.  My dad’s memory had begun to slip a bit before mom died, and she’d joked to me once that he was keeping her body alive while she kept his mind fresh.  He declined steadily after she passed and within a year was moving down here to CT to an assisted living facility that he chose because it had a memory care wing in house, and because he knew he’d be able to stay in that same place regardless of what happened for the remainder of his life.  In a flash, all of those winter months spent on a different tropical island were gone- there weren’t going to be family get-togethers in the Bahamas, or postcards with mom trying to open coconuts with the natives of whatever island they were visiting.  The “new” retirement for them was anything but enjoyable, but thankfully, they planned for anything.

me and dad

While my mother’s illness was relatively short in duration, my dad’s living with Alzheimer’s Disease and may be with us for many more years.  Thanks to their careful planning, he’s able to afford to stay where he is for a very, very long time without creating a financial burden on any of the rest of us.  We are not left to make tough decisions about “can we afford this” or “can we do without this” for him, because he and mom did plan so carefully.  They saved and planned and worked so hard for long term care plans that we all, especially me, figured were a safety net, not to be used for another 20 years or so.  Thanks also to my parents’ having shared their plans and wishes, we kids are able to honor their wishes and know what they wanted.  Mom wanted to be home, in her own bed, without doctors and medical intervention prolonging something she’d long ago accepted.  Dad wanted to be someplace that could give him more care as his Alzheimer’s progressed and not have to move again in his life.  I can’t say that the talks I had with my parents about these wishes were pleasant, there were often tears shed as they ended, but in retrospect, I’m so grateful that they realized how important planning for the future was- and also how important sharing those plans was going to be.

 

I found this article that I’ve bookmarked for my own personal use- 10 Conversations to Plan for Aging with Dignity and Independence. We’ve had these conversations in our house, but as we get older and things change, we need to continue having the conversations.

Have you talked with your loved ones about long term care?

Be sure to check out my posts about why we purchased life insurance and about decisions to think about when purchasing your first home!

This is a supported post with information provided by Genworth Financial. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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About the author: I’m a 30-something mom to three, brand ambassador. content creator, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, earth lover, butcher, baker, candlestick maker (or something along those lines) – love word games, crafting, cake decorating or shooting pictures.

17 comments… add one

  • Great topic. I’m 30 but it’s never too early to discuss what you want and how you plan on achieving it. Sorry about both your parents by the way. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease and it’s a sad sad thing.

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  • Everyone should have this discussion about how they want to be taken care of in their golden years. But, this important discussion should take place BEFORE they reach that age! The reason to have this talk early is for several reasons. 1. They could develop Alzheimer’s, 2. They could have a stroke, 3. They could get many other debilitating diseases or suffer an accident, etc. BEFORE they or you consider them even old enough to need help with their activities of daily living. Most times these things leave them with very poor communication skills or the mental capacity to make important decisions. I speak from experience, my mom had a stroke at the age of 62 with no prior history of heart trouble! She was left with limited strength or movement on her right side, trouble communicating, and decreased mental capacity (due to the many TIA’s-mini strokes that followed throughout the years). Thank God we knew she wants to be home, not in a nursing home and we are able to take care of her our self, so she is happy.

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  • What a great picture you have posted. I think about getting older and the future daily. I always tell my husband I need to teach him how to access all of my website stuff in case something ever happens to me and he doesn’t like to talk about it.

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  • Definitely hard to discuss but has to be done for everyone’s sake.Thanks for sharing your story

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  • I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s passing and your father’s Alzheimer’s. This must be very difficult. It’s good to hear they did their planning. I agree it’s very important to think of things like this and make plans. I’ve learned a lot in the past 2 years about this type of thing and it’s been really eye opening and made me think about how we need to start planning for our future as well.

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  • That picture is so precious. Great post with great info!

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  • Great big hugs to you! You’re very right about how important it is to plan ahead.

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  • Your photo is soo loving and sweet! I think it’s great you’re sharing this information for all of us to be reminded to take care of ourselves now and in the future!

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  • Neither of my grandparents had taken care of their end of life plans, but seeing their struggles (and ours) has motivated my Dad (and myself) to do the same! Thank you for sharing!

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  • This was helpful to me because my dad and I are really trying to make a derision about his girlfriend Peggy who just had a stroke and really can do much so we can use all the help we can get with this as she had family that dose not care to much about what happens to her

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    • Oh, Lori. I will keep you all in my thoughts, especially Peggy.

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  • I have discussed this with my mother but she is single and doesn’t have much savings so I’m sure we’ll be taking care of her financially at some point. I really should check this out for her. Thanks!

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  • My mom has it all figured out for herself because she’s like your dad in that she doesn’t want anyone to be burdened with that responsibility. I’ll never forget the day I realized the tables had turned with us and our parents. It’s scary to see them age!

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  • With both my dad needing care and my in laws, this is something I think we should have thought of long ago.

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  • What a beautiful photo of the two of you! With the recent death of my beloved father-in-law due to severe Alzheimer’s, my husband and I have realized how fleeting life is, and are beginning our long-term plans and goals this year. We are both nearing 50 (this year) and still have 4 of our 5 children living at home, so we want to be sure they are protected should anything happen to us. Death is hard enough without having to carry a burden as well. I’m so thankful for the time we had with my FIL, and that he lived a good life at almost 90 years of age, but his quality of life the few months before his passing was not good at all. We miss him dearly! Alzheimer’s is a tough road, but there are so many resources out there for both the victim and their families. Take advantage of them.. if anything, they will offer you peace of mind. HUGS!

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  • Awww I love that photo of the two of you. Your dad reminds me of my grandpa. He had Alzheimer’s. Planning for the future can be difficult, it’s a topic I want to avoid. But I know we need to figure things out, as my parents are getting older.

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  • Brett, thank you so much for this article. I plan to check this out. Being 51 puts a lot into perspective, and of course, I’m not getting any younger!

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