What’s the role of a “mom”?
My mom took care of us in every sense of the word. Five kids. That’s a whole lot of caretaking—from the birth of the first to the last one leaving the house it was about 30 years of her life.
We lived on a small farm. We had a huge garden. Mom put up vegetables and fruit in the summer that we ate throughout the year. She held a job outside of the home for many of those years. She was involved in the church and in the community. When grandkids came along she spent time with them.
When she was 70 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She became increasingly frail over the next few years but remained in good humor and continued to be as self-sufficient as possible. None of the five kids lived nearby. She relied more and more on my Dad to help her. As so often happens, she had increasing difficulty walking and eventually fell and broke her hip. She spent the last four years of her life in a nursing home.
I believe that Mom got good care in that nursing home. Yes, there was frequent frustration with having to wait for help to the bathroom or the meals not being ready on time. But the caregivers were good, kind people. My Mom and Dad were both physically healthier when someone else could be the hands on caregivers and they could just spend time together.
Suddenly Mom was on the other end of being a caregiver. She had become a care recipient.
One of the things that I often hear from people in my office is “I don’t plan to ever go into a nursing home.” Guess what. NO ONE PLANS TO GO INTO A NURSING HOME, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE DO. (But more often people receive care at home!)
Sometimes those are people who have been frail all their lives. But more often it is the healthy, active individuals like my mom who, for no apparent reason, get a medical diagnosis they never expected.
Other times it is the otherwise healthy, active individual who gets hit by the proverbial bus and become a quadriplegic. Other times it is the incredibly fit and healthy athlete who simply outlives their health and becomes old and frail with no actual medical diagnosis involved.
Thankfully most of us will never go into a nursing home. But that does not mean that we won’t need some type of help with our day to day activities at some point in the future. Whenever possible that help will be received at home. Long term care insurance policies sold today cover care at home too.
Please understand that health care is expensive. If you need home health care for just 44 hours per week, national surveys indicate that cost would be over $45,000 per year. What impact would that have on your lifestyle or on the lifestyle of a spouse or partner with whom you share living expenses.
Let’s think of it this way. Moms are “caregivers” for their children basically 24/7. If you look at the graphic above, a mom’s “salary” would be the equivalent of $112,962 per year.
Now what if it’s “Mom” who needs care?
Based on the average cost of a home health care worker, the cost to hire a caregiver for Mom 24/7 would be $171,818 per year. That’s 50% MORE than a mother’s salary was estimated to be.
Moms are priceless and worth more than any payment we could give them.
What is it worth to you to know that you, your Mom, or anyone else you care about would have the option to stay at home if care is needed?
What is it worth to you, to know that if you are the one who needs care, your loved ones would have an insurance policy available to get some help so they are NOT in a position of taking care of you 24/7?
Long term care insurance helps the person who has the policy. But perhaps more importantly, it helps the caregiver get some help.
Every mom knows that being a caring mom 24/7 is hard! Thank goodness for babysitters and daycare!
Being a caregiving child to an aging or infirm parent is hard too! Let’s make it as easy as possible.