It’s Time for “The Talk”

I remember the day my parents telling me years ago that they had not only looked into, but had purchased long-term care insurance.  I was like, “What on earth for?”  I didn’t want to think about them being THAT old,  so I successfully put it out of my mind.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what it actually was; I just knew I didn’t like it.  It seemed morbid to be looking into that type of thing!  Now…I am so thankful that they did!

My siblings and I had all thought through many possibilities amongst ourselves:  One or both parents moving in with us, home health, and yes, even the possibility of a nursing home.  This is one of those areas with so many possible outcomes, it’s impossible to really know WHAT you would do.  And it is an INTENSE topic, full of overwhelming emotion.  What I HAVE learned, is that it needs to be discussed BEFORE the need arises.  Possibilities can be explored and time given to prayer BEFORE emotions are running high.

I am certainly not an insurance salesman, that’s would be my brother, but I have come to realize how important long-term health insurance can be.  We were able to keep my mother at home during her final months, but that isn’t possible in every circumstance.  Did you know that many nursing homes cost around $6000 a month!  Long-term care insurance generally pays out about $100 a day.  So even WITH the insurance, you are looking at $3000 a month out of pocket.  Not many of us have that kind of money.  And let’s be honest, there are far less GOOD nursing homes than there are bad ones.

My father had promised my mother that he would do his best to never put her in a nursing home and thankfully, he was able to keep his promise to her.  Even with that, there came a point when WE needed help to properly care for her needs.  One person simply cannot give total care to another for months on end.  The weaker the patient becomes the heavier the responsibility to the caregiver, even down to the most basic of needs.  We chose to hire a Certified Nurses Assistant through a Home Care company.  These CNA’s are usually paid hourly, so your financial resources can be maximized.   I would suggest you schedule them during the most difficult time of day to preserve your energy.  You will easily pay $20 a hour for a CNA.  Long-term care insurance can also be used here at the $100/day payout.  So we hired our CNA for 5 hours each day.  (If you don’t use the full $100, it cannot be carried over to another day.)  We were very thankful to be able to have my mother at home and have the help we needed.

What I want you to take away from this blog post is this:  Talk about these things as your parents start to get older.  THINK through them with your spouse, because getting your own long-term care insurance is best done earlier, rather than later.  Find out your parents wishes, all the way down to whether or not they would desire to be resuscitated in certain circumstances.  These are difficult discussions to have, but they are so necessary.

I have never experienced anything so challenging and painful as helping my father look after my mother in her final months of life.  But I am so thankful they discussed these issues and made these decisions, even though I didn’t want to think about them at the time.  God proved Himself faithful time and time again.  Through dependance on Him, what was so difficult, was also a rich blessing and a time of growth for me.

I share this struggle with you in hopes that it will cause you to think ahead, not with fear, but with hope and a greater knowledge of what is to come.  Are you at this point in your life?  If not here, where are you?  What are your cares and concerns.  As I share my life with you, I want you to feel you can share yours with me.  We can encourage each other as we seek Him…in everything.

6 thoughts on “It’s Time for “The Talk”

  1. I love the last line, “… as we seek Him, in everything…” I hope your very honest post encourages others that some tasks, while hard to think about, are really done for peace of mind when it matters most. And that it matters to Him too. My heart goes out to you for your recent loss. Blessings for the rest of this week!

  2. Thank you so much, Christine. I just signed up to follow your blog, because I can relate in many ways. For me, it wasn’t the big D, but the big A…anxiety. Just another reason to trust the Lord, right?

    PS – your photographs are beautiful!

  3. So many people don’t understand how long term care is paid here in the US. There is a great misconception that Medicare will cover long term care. Wrong! If you require long term care greater than 120 days, Medicare will NOT cover this. Your options are to pay out of pocket, use benefits from a long term care policy (one you hopefully purchased when you were younger and healthier) or become Medicaid eligible.

    Unfortunately, most long term care policies do not allow for the Consumer (senior or person with a disability) to use a self-directed personal assistance program. They will only reimburse a licensed nursing agency. So, for those of us who have lived successfully using Medicaid funded consumer directed personal assistance, we have no long term care option. I am quite confident I can meet my own assistance needs in a community living environment. Just because I need help getting in and out of bed does not mean I required the skilled nursing of a nursing home setting.

    Difficult conversations should be started before the need for help arises. Sometimes all you can do is plant the seed, but that seed can often grow.

    • Your situation does pose other obstacles, doesn’t it? For us, getting a CNA for several hours worked well, but for you, an hour to get ready for the day and an hour to end the day would probably work better. CNA’s won’t usually come out for less than 4 hours at a time because it isn’t worth it for them financially. I can totally understand that from their viewpoint.

      It’s a shame, actually, that the body of Christ can’t be more helpful to each other in situations like this. Some of us are hesitant to ask for help and others are hesitant to jump in there as well.

      Beth

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