I was fortunate to attend the Valley Hospital Foundation Lecture Series titled “Passages in Caregiving: The Most Memorable Passage in your Life” last week at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The moving presentation was given by Gail Sheehy, bestselling author and literary journalist. The room was filled with people who have become caregivers and the discussion of the journey into an unknown world and the difficulty of taking care of someone who is chronically ill. This personal journal prompted Gail Sheehy to write the above titled book after her husband had struggled with cancer and she spent seventeen years as an unpaid caregiver.
Nearly fifty million American adults are confronted with this issue and are stumbling along this unpredictable path. There are many decisions that need to be made daily including the medical appointments, negotiating with insurance companies; Medicare, legal and family concerns and most of these issues have financial consequences. The unexpected costs of caring for a loved one can be extremely overwhelming while the emotional and physical task of everyday life takes its toll.
Although we never know what life will throw at us, there are some ways to be prepared for the financial burdens that may await us with the purchase of Long-Term Care insurance.
The value of Long Term Care insurance is that it:
- Supports independence by providing the ability to pay for Home Care and Assisted Living costs, and
- Protects loved ones from the burdens of caregiving.
While most Americans suspect that they might need long term care “sometime” in the future, many underestimate care costs and falsely assume that their health insurance will pay for extended care. For most people, the best way to protect themselves and their family from the unexpected need for long term care is to purchase long term care insurance. Otherwise, they need to estimate the potential costs and identify the assets and investments that will be available to fund these expenses. It’s also essential for individuals to discuss the issue with their families to determine what types of support may be available to them later in life.
This insightful book will help one navigate through the different stages of caregiving by giving valuable strategies for both patient and caregiver. It is a well-researched guide to an unfamiliar and often scary role that many of us will experience.