“Everyone has a story.”
She spent three months tracking me down. She said I may not remember her and I didn’t. She needed to thank me before her time ran out.
She was in her mid-20’s when I met her. She expected to get married soon and raise a family and live a normal life. She had a good job and expected to keep working to help support her family. We talked about securing her income with an insurance policy that would guarantee her income no matter what. She took my advice and bought a disability income contract.
Life doesn’t always go as planned and five years later she came down with Muscular Dystrophy (MS). She struggled through the diagnosis and treatment but was told she would not be able to work again. At his point she had two young children, a mortgage and other normal expenses.
When she finally reached me the disease was taking its toll. She wasn’t sure how long she had but was compelled to tell me how much that insurance policy meant to her and her family. Because she was guaranteed income, her family didn’t suffer any life style change.
She has passed now but I will never forget what she taught me about my career. Be aware of risk and cover as much of it as possible. Life can change in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t always happen to somebody else. One of my biggest challenges is to get people to pay attention to their risk and have a plan to deal with it. Health events are as predictable as the traffic on the 405.
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From the Blog
How much should retirees expect to spend on health care throughout the rest of their lives? Estimates vary, ranging from about $250,000 a couple to $500,000, depending on longevity, health status and location. Some are even higher after including nursing home costs, but those costs will depend in part on a couple’s long-term care insurance — whether either or both members have it and exactly what their policies cover. READ MORE >>
So the familiar story goes, ‘I have enough money. I don’t need Long Term Care Insurance’.
If you have that kind of money, you got it by being smart with your assets, right? Congratulations.
Here is a little quiz: If you knew if there is a 70% chance that you are going to need help with bathing, dressing, meal preparation and other activities of daily living, you probably assume that you will pay those bills out of pocket, right? READ MORE >>
The perception that the cost of long term care is so outrageous that it is easy to dismiss it. Besides, the government has a safety net plan, right? Like any other big expense, you need to be educated and have a plan, much like you do with children’s education, saving for retirement and buying a house. Most everybody knows somebody who has had to deal with it for themselves or parents. Unprepared people experience sticker shock once they are in crises. READ MORE >>
That kind of care gets paid for in one of three ways
Qualify for Medicaid
(that’s the government’s poverty level and assets need to be spent down!)
Use Up Your Savings
Short Term or Long Term Care Insurance Contract
Getting ready for it is better than dealing with a crisis when you may not be at your best. Our work is to help people through the Medicare maze and provide the necessary legal and financial tools.
of us will need help with things like dressing, bathing, meal preparation and remembering. Family members often help out but that gets real old real fast. The experience can literally tear families apart.
The idea is to be smart about it:
protect your money, avoid family turmoil,
and be able to make choices for yourself.
4 Signs of Cognitive Impairment and Why Early Detection of Memory Impairment is Important
1. Difficulty doing familiar things in their life.
Having problems with activities of daily living (ADl’s) or any activity that is part of their normal routine such as cooking, cleaning, or performing regular jobs skill could signal an issue.
2. Difficulty remembering things that happen in the last day.
Alzheimer’s and dementia affects recent memory so memory problems within the past 24 hours could be a red flag.
3. Sudden behavioral changes.
If your loved one is suddenly depressed, quiet, agitated or acting out of the norm, this may signal a problem.
4. Having trouble keeping a conversation.
The following problems in conversation could be an indication of memory impairment:
- Asking the same question repeatedly, without remembering the answer
- Not referring to people by name
- Vagueness and lack of details in conversation
5 Most Important Financial Questions to Ask Your Parent
1. Do you have a durable power of attorney?
2. Have you updated your will, insurance and retirement account information recently?
3. Do you have plans or insurance in place to pay for long term care?
4. Who is advising you?
5. Where is all the important information: passports, social security cards, bank accounts, etc.?
How Boomers Should Approach Aging Parent Issues
Boomers who had a rough time getting through ‘the talk’ with their kids might find that there is another uncomfortable discussion they face – the one with their parents.
Get yourself mentally and emotional prepared. Think about how you would want to be talked to in the same situation. Keep the conversation casual and as clam as possible. The conversation will be counterproductive if your frustration and anxiety comes through.
Show your support with regular communication. It is easier to talk about ‘touchy’ areas when you are already in the habit of talking about everyday things. Ask questions about their life, what they are doing and their concerns. Asking for their advice can also make them feel more valued.
Holidays can be a good time to talk about the future. However, telling them that it is not safe to live alone with everyone around the holiday table is not a good idea. Take them aside and voice your concerns and potential fixes.
Regarding financial information, it may be best to use the indirect approach. Break the ice with stories like: Phil and Doris are having trouble paying their utility bills or Frank had to get a part time job to make ends meet. This might help them open up about their personal financial situation.
If you hear that they are getting financial advice, it would be helpful to know from whom.
It’s still their life so when talking about moving to a long-term care facility present options that include in-home care or moving in with a friend or relative. Leave them feeling that they are still in control and can make their own choices.
For more information regarding Alzheimer from Dr. Wes Ashford click:
The cost of long term care depends on where it is received. The four stages begin with staying at home and receiving care from a variety of providers such as, family, home health aides and visiting nurses. This would also include Adult Daycare. The next stage is Assisted Living. This generally means a one room or a two room suite in a group setting with others in the same condition. Then nursing home care with specialty nurses and doctors. The fourth stage is hospice where efforts are limited to making the patient comfortable.
The cost also is different depending what state you are in and the level of care you need. The cost of care is generally lower in the south and higher in other parts of the country. Click on the link to see what it cost in different zip codes.
Options with Long Term Care Insurance Policies
There are 3 kinds of policies…
1. Traditional contracts
Traditional contracts provide benefits for long term care only. This means that if you don’t use it, it doesn’t pay anything. Similar to auto or fire insurance policies. These polices have a unique value for people who live in a Partnership state. Under these conditions, the Medicaid ‘spend down’ formula changes. Medicaid allows for the retention of $119,000 that does not have to be used for long term care. In Partnership states, the value is increased by the face amount of the policy. For example, Jim buys a $300,000 traditional Long Term Care Policy. Because he lives in New Hampshire (a Partnership State), the spend-down stops at $419,000.
2. Hybrid Long Term Care Policies
Hybrid Long Term Care Policies function differently. These contracts are really life insurance policies with a long term care rider. With this type of policy, the death benefit can also be used for long term care. For example, Jim decides to by a $300,000 hybrid policy because, if he is one of the 1/3rd of the population that will die before they need long term care, the policy will pay off. There is no ‘use it or lose it’. Unfortunately, these policies are not eligible for the Partnership Plan.
3. Short Term Care (STC)
Short Term Care (STC) policies are new to the market and offer lower premiums for a shorter period of coverage. Under Hybrids or Tradition contracts, benefits can be available for 2 years or life time. The STC’s cover only up to 365 days.
Designating a Health Care Proxy:
Who is going to make the life or death health care decision for you if you are unable. Appointing a Health Care Proxy is important for everybody over the age of 18? Bad things can happen at any time to anybody. The critical element to the document is the appointment. Choosing somebody you trust and discussing your wishes with them is critical. The link below is poised to an online form but it would be better to have your attorney draw it up and keep a copy in their file.
Do Not Resuscitate:
Literally, this means that if you stop breathing, you do not want any heroic efforts to bring you back to life. DNR orders come from physicians, not from patients. If a patient wants CPR to be withheld, he or she has to discuss the decision with a physician to get the order written. It is not good enough to have it in a will or verbally expressing your wishes. The Doctor must write the order. Also, it is important to remember that the DNR order probably doesn’t stop other life sustaining efforts like transfusions or dialysis.
Wills and Trusts:
There are so many legal considerations to make regarding end of life wishes and asset protection. If you want to get to the point of become Medicaid eligible, you have to find legal ways to divest all of you assets. You have to be at the federal poverty level to be eligible for Medicaid then the government tells you what kind of care you will get. There are five year ‘look back’ rules, spousal considerations, and probate laws that require the skills of a good local elder care attorney.
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