I went to Virginia Beach for a wedding this weekend. When we left Asheville on Thursday afternoon, it was still very unclear what direction Hurricane Joaquin was headed. It was a Category 4 storm and some of the models had it headed directly for Virginia Beach.
It’s about an eight hour drive. Most of it was through steady, but not driving, rain. For the final hour we were in VERY heavy rain.
Our hotel was right on the beach and I will tell you that the weather on Friday was a little scary. More rain coming down and some pretty serious wind but it looked like the worst of the storm was going to miss us.
Saturday, the day of the wedding, we woke to sunshine streaming into the room. It turned out to be a beautiful day. While the decision had already been made to move the wedding indoors, they were still able to take some pictures outdoors in the beautiful harbor.
We dodged a bullet.
So how is that like long term care planning?
Well, like the hurricane, you never know when a long term care situation is going to come your way. Some people dodge a bullet. Some people take a direct hit.
Some don’t believe they will ever be affected by a storm OR by a long term care need and they do nothing to prepare. Then when it hits, it’s a disaster. They weren’t ready. Damage is done. Some of it can’t be repaired.
Others plan well in advance. They take precautions. Whether it’s having storm shutters or sandbags, they have resources in place—just in care. While they hope they never need them, they have a certain peace of mind knowing that they are prepared –just in case.
Many of us find it hard to imagine a situation when we might need care. Some will avoid the discussion, avoid thinking about it, and avoid planning for it.
Others will have a frank discussion with their loved ones. They will discuss what their wishes are if they need care. If, like many, they don’t want to be a burden to their loved ones, they will discuss this with them—just in case.
But the next step is the step that is frequently missed.
If you do not want your loved ones to be your care providers, then who will provide the care? That usually means hiring a professional caregiver—probably a home health care agency. Discuss how those caregivers will be paid—just in case.
Is there sufficient money in the investment accounts to pay for care without jeopardizing the financial situation of a spouse or a dependent? If you use the investments that are producing income to pay for care, the income will become less.
Is there enough income to pay the normal expenses AND pay for care—just in case?
Do you know what the cost of home health care is in your area? You can check it out at www.genworth.com/costofcare.
Long term care insurance is a cost effective way to pay for care. However, just as you can’t get flood insurance when the water is lapping at your doorstep, you can’t get long term care insurance when you have a condition that makes the possibility of needing care more likely.
Plan. Be Prepared. If you live in an area that may be hit by a hurricane, you need a plan as to how/when to evacuate when the water is rising. A plan for how to stay safe. A plan for how to take care of those you love—just in case.
You may or may not ever need long term care. But prepare—just in case. You need a plan for who you want involved in your day-to-day, hands on care. You need a plan how to protect the financial security of your loved ones. You need a plan for how your care would be provided and how it would be paid for.
Please take the time to explore if long term care insurance makes sense for you. It’s not for everyone but please make the decision for yourself. Everyone has their own needs, concerns, and resources. We take those needs, concerns, and resources into account when we talk with you about long term care planning and insurance.
When the water is rising, it’s too late. Don’t wait—just in case.