And The Easiest Conversation To Put Off Until It Becomes Too Late…

“THE TOUGHEST CONVERSATIONS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ONES”

 

Aging and how to prepare for it is one of the most pressing issues of our time and it will only get more urgent as the nation ages.  While people are living longer, many have little idea about the added pressures of a long life, both financially, emotionally, and physically.

We spend years working and hours talking about family, careers, and retirement — but the discussion about aging and your future is most important.  Delaying this conversation, denial, optimism or misinformation can turn a secure and comfortable aging process into a stressful one when avoiding the problems of needing long-term care (LTC) services in the future.  It’s much easier and better to be prepared for everyone involved than being forced into making tough and uneasy decisions at the wrong time!

STAY AS YOUNG AS YOU CAN, AS HEALTHY AS YOU CAN FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN…

GETTING OLDER, LIKE LIFE, HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING THE OTHER WAY.  While we all want to live a long life, no one wants to think about getting old.  That’s why there are so many wrinkle creams and plastic surgeons, LOL!  However, there’s just no way around it.  Life changes as we grow older.  A healthy and active lifestyle cannot stop the clock or roll back time.  Normal aging is a fact of life accompanied by physical and mental changes, which create uncertainty and are a cause for anxiety as we age.

OUR SECOND PART OF LIFE WILL LOOK DIFFERENT THAN THE FIRST SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE AGING PROCESS.  Advances in medical science, pharmaceuticals, and lifestyle have contributed to an aging society where we are living longer and dying slower.  Living a long life means getting older and that may translate into the need for help with everyday activities requiring long-term care services (Home, Assisted Living or Nursing Home).

TIME IS PRECIOUS – TIME IS FINITE!  Right now you MAY have the luxury of time.  You can be proactive, rather than reactive.  Spending time on the subject of aging and long-term care planning may not be the most pleasant of topics, certainly not the easiest, but it’s one of the most important and necessary conversations you can have with your spouse and children.  It’s human nature to avoid and postpone things that make us uneasy, especially when time seems to be on our side.

WHAT IF THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS?  The luxury and clarity of time are lost.  Decisions made in a vacuum, under pressure, or at the spur of the moment are often difficult and seldom ideal.  Only when you know what you and your loved ones want can you make the best decisions, which is why getting these matters settled and putting plans in place today means you can be more confident about what tomorrow may bring you with less worry and fewer regrets about the future.  Learn more in “Truth Or Consequences!”

Discuss Your Future…It Puts You In Control!

Being prepared, put’s you in control and lets you get back to the joy and happiness life offers you and your loved ones going forward.

Talk to the people you love and care most about.  HAVE THAT CONVERSATION TODAY!

Checking Your Blind Spots

The conversation is important because it lets you check your blind spots.  If you don’t take the time to talk about aging and potential long term care needs ahead of time, you’re less prepared for the future.  It may not be a fun conversation, certainly easy to avoid, but there’s often a direct correlation between how difficult a subject is to talk about and how important it is to have that talk.

Another View

Our working years are like climbing a mountain.  We scratch and claw as we try to make our way to the top.  Once we approach or near the top of that mountain, we have more to lose and a long way to fall.  Ideally, you want to climb down the mountain and enjoy your plan for retirement or the future at your own pace.  The last thing you want to do in this period of life is fall off that mountain and start your ascent all over again.

Only One Winner

The Unexpected Problem 

A long-term care event not planned or prepared for can quickly knock you off the mountain rather quickly with sad consequences for everyone in your family.

Unpleasant Changes That Can Start To Occur

Sometimes it’s not the big health problems that change the future years, but the smaller annoyances – like the inability to pursue a hobby or sport, the difficulty hearing, seeing, confusion, loss of balance or the fear of falling.  You might notice a lack of ability to groom themselves or maintain overall hygiene?  Do they require assistance with medications?

Determining these subtle yet obvious changes should be a call to action and provide strong reasons for having the talk.  Note there may already be risk factors present that may cause an individual to be charged more or even declined for a long-term care insured solution.

When To Have The Talk

There are certain triggers or life events that should prompt you to have this conversation about the future. It might include a landmark birthday for you or someone in your family, a change in income or assets, a need to downsize, someone you know requiring long-term care or suffering a life-changing event, problems created or problems prevented because someone you know did long-term care planning or possibly from your own personal experiences.

I can’t tell you when to talk.  However, I can tell you the wrong time and the wrong time won’t be the right time.  It’s never too soon to talk, but it can become too late quite suddenly.

The best answer to the “WHEN TO HAVE THE TALK?” question is almost always “NOW”.

Why The Conversation Can Be

Some family members aren’t comfortable talking about difficult subjects such as aging and long-term care planning for the future.  It’s important to understand the reluctance to communicate about these delicate issues and be entirely open to the conversation.
Make it clear that there are no right or wrong answers, no forbidden topics, no hidden agendas.  All opinions are welcomed and no one will be pushed for quick decisions. This will be an exchange of ideas, empathy, and understanding.  Put aside past difficulties and focus on a calm, respectful exchange of concerns and options.  It’s easy to bring a lifetime of misunderstandings into this necessary and transformative meeting.

Realize that the discussion can go in all sorts of directions depending on your family dynamic, and sometimes it’s best to let that happen.  For most of your adult lives, you went to your parents for advice.  This conversation can cause roles to be reversed with difficulties for everyone involved to initially accept.  You might want to have some talking points to organize your thoughts, but don’t limit yourself to them.  The purpose of the conversation is to get input from everyone involved.

What has the potential to make or break a retirement plan – long-term care?

Avoiding this conversation and not discussing aging and needing long term care services can make the problem worse because of the misunderstanding regarding your spouse or partner’s wishes on issues like caregivers (who will provide care), how you will pay as well as who will pay for care?

Numerous surveys conducted with the oldest “Baby Boomers” found that “long-term care and how to pay for it” was one of the top two biggest concerns about the future along with running out of money.

Denial Concept.
Fear

Unfortunately, some adults or parents live in DENIAL believing everything in the future will fall into place and take care of itself. Not likely, and certainly not a good strategy.

Who Should Participate In The Conversation?

It will depend on your family dynamic.

SPOUSE OR PARTNER – You’re planning for the rest of your life together.  Decisions this important will affect each of you.

PARENTS – It’s a good idea to sit down as a family and discuss what you want your approaching years to be like for everyone involved and how to plan for that vision with them.

GROWN CHILDREN – They need to know your wishes and intentions for your future years.

Having the talk is for your parents. Maybe their plans are incomplete or unknown because you and your siblings have been uncomfortable approaching the topic of aging and long-term care planning with them.

CLOSE FRIENDS – Sometimes it’s helpful to explore what others your age are doing to prepare for challenges you have in common.

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Preparing For The Conversation

It may be easier to focus on someone else who is already dealing with or who have dealt with aging and long-term care planning issues.  A discussion about their experiences and choices, and what is good or bad about their situation, can be a useful starting point.  You might even reference a neutral example such as a news article you read.

It’s also good to know what you hope to accomplish by starting the conversation.  What are your concerns for yourself, your children, your parents or your siblings?

Whatever moves the conversation forward. You’ll be glad you took the time because the more difficult the subject to talk about, the more important it is to have that talk.

ASK QUESTIONS, TAKE NOTES, LISTEN, SHARE YOUR WISHES

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Start The Conversation And The Process Of Planning Begins

GENERAL THOUGHTS AND QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS FOR A LONG LIFE AND YOUR FUTURE AHEAD

(Lifestyle, Legal Documents, Financial Matters, Medicare / Health Care, and Long-Term Care Planning)

Once these issues have been discussed and are current.  Create a list of detailed instructions for your spouse, children or siblings then gather and organize these important  records (legal, financial, investments, insurance policies, property, medical and any other valuable documents) in one safe place and let your spouse, children or those you trust know where they are located and provide them access when needed.  There should also be a list with phone numbers of family members, relatives, doctors, your attorney, accountant, financial advisor and insurance agent for emergency situations.  It should also include current medications.

This might also be the time to resolve another sensitive issue regarding funeral arrangements and completing your final plans thus making it easier on everyone for the future.  Include any special arrangements or how you want your life to be remembered and celebrated.  This is tough to do but incredibly valuable.

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LIFESTYLE

Here are some questions to discuss regarding your future and planning ahead…

What does it mean to you to live a long life?

What keeps you up at night?

Where do you want to live in the future?

What are your housing preferences and do you think they might change such as downsizing to smaller living arrangements?

Do you want to retire or continue working?

What do you want to do accomplish in the future that you haven’t already?

What are your dreams and goals for the future?

What are your favorite activities or sports?

What are you doing to prepare for a long life?

What concerns you the most about planning for the future and aging?

In what ways do you feel prepared or unprepared for the future?

Do you want to pass on assets to your children or to a favorite charitable cause?

Do you think you will have enough money to last a lifetime?

Have you given any thought to a life-altering situation requiring long-term care?

What would you absolutely not want as part of your future plans?

What do you want your legacy to be?

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

What if an accident or illness — or simply the effects of aging — left you unable to manage your financial affairs or tell your doctors what kind of medical treatment you want?  No one likes to consider such grim possibilities, but the truth is that almost every family will eventually face this kind of difficulty.

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Is your will or trust arrangements up-to-date and reflecting your current wishes?  Do you have a durable power of attorney, a power of attorney for health care or a living will?  If not, now is the time!  If so, good, do they need to be reviewed?  While these legal documents can’t prevent accidents or keep you young, they can certainly make life easier for you and your family during difficult and emotional times.

Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will Quick Definitions:

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act in your place.  In case you ever become incompetent, you’ll need what are known as “durable” powers of attorney for finances and medical care.  A durable power of attorney simply means that the document stays in effect if you become mentally incapacitated and unable to handle matters on your own.

With a valid power of attorney, the trusted person you name will be legally permitted to take care of important matters for you — for example, paying your bills, managing your investments, or directing your medical care — if you are unable to do so yourself.

Taking the time to create these documents is well worth the small effort it will take.  If you haven’t and something happens to you, your loved ones may have to go to court to get the authority to handle your affairs.  Going to court can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful all at the wrong time.

A Medical Power of Attorney is one type of health care directive — that is, a document that set out your wishes for health care if you are ever too ill or injured to speak for yourself.

When you make a medical power of attorney — more commonly called a “durable power of attorney for health care” — you name a trusted person to oversee your medical care and make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

Your health care representative will work with doctors and other health care providers to make sure you get the kind of medical care you wish to receive.  When arranging your care, this person is legally bound to follow your treatment preferences to the extent that he or she knows about them.

To make your wishes clear, you can use the second type of health care directive — often called a “Health Care Declaration” or “Living Will” — to provide written health care instructions to your representative and health care providers so your intentions about end-of-life medical care are followed.  When developing these legal documents, consider your concerns, values, spiritual beliefs and what makes life worth living.  To make this easier, some states combine a durable power of attorney for health care and health care declaration into a single form, commonly called an “advance health care directive.”

It usually makes a good deal of sense to name the same person in both documents.  If not, you must be sure to name people who will work well together.

I do not practice law and this information is not intended as legal advice.  Please seek the guidance of your attorney regarding these important legal matters and documents specific to your personal situation.

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FINANCIAL MATTERS

How are bills and insurance premiums being paid now?  Is there some kind of reminder system in place should memory issues occur in the future?  If not, maybe have recurring bills paid by automatic payment.

Who manages the investments, assets or retirement plans?  Many times one spouse has always handled the finances with the other person left in the dark.  Attempt to change this.

Do you know what investments, assets or retirement plans would be liquidated first to pay for long-term care service?

MEDICAL / HEALTH CARE

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Is there one doctor coordinating all of your medical care?

Do you have multiple doctors treating you independently of each other causing confusion or conflicting medical care?

What kind of medications are you currently taking?

What kind of medical treatments are you currently receiving?

Are there any ongoing serious medical issues you’re being treated for?

Does your spouse or children know your personal physician so you aren’t a total stranger should an emergency arise?

Is there a list of your doctors, phone numbers and medications in the event of an emergency for your family or friends?

Letter Dice On A White Background - Review

Remember the best plans and your preferences made today will change over time.  They will need to be reviewed as your personal circumstances change in the future along with legal documents, financial accounts, life insurance beneficiary designations and life insurance policies with in-force illustrations.

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NO CONVERSATION ABOUT AGING AND PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

IS COMPLETE UNTIL LONG-TERM CARE IS CONSIDERED. 

The Curtain Pulls Back…
Revealing The Severity Of Today’s Long-Term Care Problem

We grow up to become independent yet as we age no one wants to believe they will need to depend on someone else for help with everyday activities.

SADLY more and more people require long-term care services every day.  Assisted living facilities have waiting lists and no one wants to end up in a nursing home, but they are all filled.

SADLY as more and more people are living longer and become frail.  The need for long-term care increases.

SADLY sports injuries are on the rise requiring care.

SADLY families are stretched living further apart and can’t do it all.

SADLY women outlive men and are likely to age alone.

SADLY people underestimate the cost of care now and what services will cost in the future.  No one wants to burden their loved ones, but that’s exactly what happens when they fail to plan for a long-term care event.

Even though the need for long-term care surrounds us especially as we age, it can be a perplexing issue for many Americans.  It’s often confused with medical care, but there is an important distinction between the two.

What Is Long-Term Care?

According to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, long-term care differs from other types of medical care, which tries to treat or cure illnesses or injuries.  Long-term care provides services to those who have lost some or all of the ability to care for themselves due to a disability, chronic illness or require substantial supervision due to severe cognitive impairment (Dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, etc.).

Long Term Care Word Cloud on Blue Background

The goal of LTC is to enable a person to function so you may live as independently as possible by receiving help with the most basic, yet intimate, activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and continence.  These services can be provided at home, adult day care centers, assisted living / residential care facilities or nursing homes. (Family Caregiver Alliance, “Selected Long-Term Care Statistics,” FCA, January 31, 2015)

Hands

Raise Your Hand If You Know Somebody Who Has Required Long-Term Care
Or Is Currently Requiring Long-Term Care Services

We have seen it and have all been touched by it with our parents, relatives or friends who needed care.  What was the physical, emotional toll or financial cost for anyone caring for this person or others impacted by this event?  Was there sufficient money to pay for this person’s care?

If not, who paid for their care?  Have you ever had the experience of providing caregiving services for anyone?
What you tend to hear are the same thoughts when proper planning was not considered or implemented…

“I don’t want this to happen to my loved ones.  I want to be better prepared for all of us.”

Married, Widowed, Divorced, in a relationship, or Single need to plan as everyone can be impacted when they don’t plan.

Sometimes a long-term care event is unexpected, and sometimes it is gradual.

Long-term care planning may be about you, but it also about them, your spouse, a partner or children who may be saddled with making difficult decisions about who will pay for your care, who will provide your care, and what impact will it have on everyone going forward?

As you can see, a long-term care event will affect the entire family.

No matter the circumstances, a loved one requiring care will create emotional and financial issues changing everyone’s life far beyond your need for care.

The Only Constant In Life Is Change

IT’S A LIFE CHANGING EVENT
FOR EVERYONE!

Arrows-Directions-Change

Are You Prepared For The Future

Reaching retirement age with insufficient assets to actually retire completely or at least maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

Discovering later in life that one’s savings and retirement funds have been exhausted; or in other words, outliving your assets.

The stock market goes south at the wrong time, fear sets in, and you sell at a loss.

What can derail your future and retirement income plans?

find answers and search truth to questions, every question has a
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solving problems no problem cant be solved finding a solution

Here Are Some Long-Term Care Problems You Face And Should Understand

COST OF CARE:  For more info see, “Helping You Understand The Cost Of Care Of Long-Term Care Services Now And In Your Future”.

Many people have no idea how expensive long-term care services cost are now or how much more they will cost in the future for all levels of care?  These increasing costs can impact your retirement income if not planned for in advance.

ODDS: Learn more in “Truth Or Consequences!”

BELIEFS:  More insights in “Myths, Perceptions & Misconceptions About Long-Term Care”.

“It won’t happen to me.”  “My health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid have me covered.”  “I can self-insure these costs.”  “My family will take care of me.”  “I’ll never end up in a nursing home.”  “I’m too young to think about long-term care that’s for older people.”

CAREGIVING HEADACHES:  For more info, see “Future Home Care & Informal Care Giving Problems – An Aging Changing Crisis!  Whose Life Is Going To Be Disrupted?”

HIGHER PROBABILITY:  Learn more in “What Every Woman Needs To Know About Long Term Care”.

the unexpected big surprise expect the unexpected

Essential Planning – Are You Prepared For The Unexpected?

Consider the following life and aging issues for which many are completely unprepared.  You develop health problems that affect your ability to live independently and require long-term care services.

Planning for future long-term care needs is an important and missing piece in many well thought out retirement income plans.

LOTS OF UNINVITED PROBLEMS COME WALKING IN THE DOOR AND CAN BE OVERWHELMING WHEN YOU DO NOT REALIZE THE PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, AND FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR ALL INVOLVED WHEN A LOVED ONE NEEDS LONG-TERM CARE.

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Many problems can be stopped at the FRONT DOOR with proper long-term care planning and why it is so important!

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Questions To Consider — Because Your Answers Matter

Who will pay and what impact will it have on your care, assets and retirement income?

Consider the consequences if this scenario played out on the surviving spouses retirement / lifestyle going forward or your children’s inheritance?

An important question is not will you ever need long-term care but rather if you do will you be financially prepared to handle it?

Do your savings, investments, or retirement accounts take into consideration income for future long term care costs, and for how many years?

What assets would you use first to pay for $50,000 to $120,000 currently in long-term care services for a year?

Would you have to liquidate savings, cash in stocks other investments, or dip into retirement plans?  Will there be any market timing issues?  What about taxes?

Many people pay until they have substantially depleted their income source for care.  If care is still required, whose life will be disrupted now?

Would $250,000 to $500,000 or more in long-term care costs place a burden on your retirement income plans?

Concerns — Caregiving, Home Care, Senior / Assisted Living Facilities
(Avoiding Surprises), Lessons Learned

Any lessons learned from others you know who did well in their own preparations for long-term care planning?

CAUSE FOR CONCERN red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

AVOIDING FALLS:

Did you know that one in three older Americans falls every year?  Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+.  Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries and significant loss of independence.  Falls often trigger the onset of a series of growing needs.  For those over age 75, those who fall are more than four times more likely to be admitted to a skilled nursing facility.

And falls, even without a major injury, can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.
The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. Click www.ncoa.org. Search 6 Steps to Reducing Falls (Source: National Council on Aging)

CAUSE FOR CONCERN red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

CAREGIVING:

Can you think of anything more important to you or your spouse then protecting each other should you require long-term care?

Have you given any thought with your spouse or adult children about who would provide care for each of you in the future?

How involved do you want your spouse or children to be in the caregiving process?

Will your spouse or children be thrown into the role as an informal “unpaid” caregiver because there was no formal plan in place?  How do you think it would affect their lives?

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HOME CARE:

“There’s No Place Like Home” Dorothy stated in the Wizard of Oz.  She was right especially where the majority of care occurs at home.

How important is it to stay in your home if one or both of you require long term care services?

Your ability to stay at home and receive care may depend on the layout of your residence.  Your home would likely need modifications such as ramps, lever-style door and sink handles, grab rails, a shower chair, and hand-held shower or walk-in bathtub / shower, increased lighting in key locations throughout the house and when getting up in the middle of the night?  Do you live in a two story with the bedroom upstairs?  Would you need a stairway chair lift?  Would you need some type of life / medical alert system?

However, a loved one may need a higher level of care for different reasons and alternative situations will need to be considered such as assisted living or nursing homes.

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SENIOR / ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES (AVOIDING SURPRISES):

Do some general research about senior / assisted living facilities for future reference such as availability, cost, location, amenities, etc. Many of the best care facilities have waiting lists, and some of them have specific admission criteria that need to be met, such as the ability to live independently in order to move in.

congratulations

on having the conversation and discussing these important issues!

What should the conversation ultimately accomplish?  The most desirable outcome of the conversation is an understanding within the family, planning goes forward, and the many advantages of a long-term care insured solution rather than using your “Your Money” to pay for the cost of care.

Talking about challenging subjects can be freeing for all involved, and the more everything is spelled out and communicated, the easier it will be on everyone in the future.  Once the door is opened.  There can be unexpected insights and understandings that allow you and your spouse to share in the quality of life you’ve created together, live on your own comfortable terms in a pleasant environment (ideally at home), and with a good measure of independence.

Do you want to spend “Your Money” for care?

A better alternative to using “Your Money” (savings, investments, or retirement income) to pay long-term care costs is to leverage a budgetable premium to an insurance company and use “Someone Else’s Money”.   A self-insured plan TAKES AWAY from your income and assets.  An insured solution will always ADD to and PROTECT your assets.

Paying for care, who will provide the care or whose life may be disrupted will always be better served with an insured solution using “Someone Else’s Money”.    An insured solution may be in your name, but it also protects your entire family!

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A Long-Term Care Event Touches Everyone! 

MANY PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED WITH A LONG-TERM CARE INSURED SOLUTION, CAN YOU QUALIFY?  Learn more in “What Can A Long-Term Care Solution Do For You Today?”

Did you know? 

The best part of being prepared puts you confidently in control of tomorrow and your future.

It gets you back to doing what matters most going forward and that is enjoying your family, friends, associates, co-workers, creating and celebrating memorable events with your loved ones, and living the fullest happiest life possible with lots of laughter, smiles, and joy. 

Marc Maretsky Personal Insurance Services based in Beverly Hills, serves all of California and the United States.  I help my clients acquire life, disability, long-term care, and critical illness insured solutions, as well as enroll them into Medicare when eligible.

“No matter how fast technology changes our world and everything around us.  I believe the personal touch and a human voice are more important than ever.”

The purpose of MY WEBSITE is to provide insurance concepts and ideas of interest to my clients, favorable introductions, other professionals or anyone else who may be viewing this information.  The content is general in nature and subject to change.  It should not be considered complete advice on any company, product or ideas described.  Your appropriate attorney, CPA or tax advisor should be consulted for legal or tax reasons regarding your personal situation.

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