What do you envision when you think of a 31 year old guy?
Prime of life? Hiking? Camping? Starting a family? Planning for a possible long term care need?
Yes. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Probably not.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with a young man who had so
me very interesting insights on planning for long term care. You may be thinking that I’m going to tell you about someone who is disabled, someone who needs help.
Nope. This guy was indeed very healthy, active, and athletic. He was doing well in his career and had two young children and a great wife. By many standards he had it all.
But he shared with me what his high years had been like. He was a star athlete. He attended a small school and participated in virtually every team sport that the school offered. He loved it.
But his mother never came to even one of his athletic events.
Why? What kind of mother wouldn’t show up at any of her son’s games? How self-centered would this cold hearted woman have to be to explain this behavior? Who was this woman?
This woman, his mother, was a caregiver.
Her mother, this young man’s grandmother, lived with the family. She had health issues. She could not be alone. She needed someone with her 24/7. That role fell to the adult daughter.
What was the cost to that adult daughter’s life? She gave up what we would consider a normal lifestyle for a woman with a son in high school. She was in essence as confined to her home as her mother was. She wasn’t willing to ask for help and did not have the financial resources (they were saving for college tuition for their son!) to hire a home care worker to come in just a few hours a week so she could do “normal” things—like be a mom and do “mom things”.
This young man is now a financial planner. He is passionate about long term care insurance and how important it is to families. He loved his grandmother and because she lived with his family, he had a much closer relationship with her than many others experience.
He also loved his mom and, like most teenagers (whether they admit it or not), wanted his mom more involved in his daily activities and to be there to cheer him on at his games. He also shared that he has more maturity about it now—at the time he just wanted his mom to be present with him. In retrospect he realizes how very difficult it was from his mom’s perspective. She was torn between her role as daughter of a mother who needed care and mother of a son who needed time and attention—not to mention meals, rides to school, laundry, etc.
This young man now consistently talks with his financial planning clients about how important long term care insurance is to enabling families to maintain a lifestyle if a family member needs care. To make it okay to get help on even an occasional basis or more regularly if needed. To let a primary caregiver do the things that he or she would normally do if they had not also taken on the role of caregiver.
The life stories and experiences and perspectives on caregiving that I hear always amaze me. I’m so thankful that there are others who are as passionate about planning as I am.
I don’t know if I’ll ever need care and I certainly don’t know if you will. But I hope that you’ll do whatever it takes to make things as easy as possible for those who love you to continue to love you while also continuing to live active and involved lives of their own.
Contact me if you’d like to discuss planning options.
Just in case.