My mother was a fine woman.
She told me that my aunt, one of her sisters-in-law, had long-term care insurance. Mom said that she was going to get some.
I responded, “Nonsense. If something happens, you’ll come live with us.”
My mother was a fine woman, but she was stubborn. She got that either from her German father or her Swedish mother, we were never sure which.
My mother said that she was definitely buying some long-term care insurance (LTC). She didn’t want to have to worry that someone else might have to pay for her care. She and my father had worked hard, but financial wealth had eluded them. They were proud of what they had accomplished in life and felt it was important that they carry their share of the load.
Individuals who require long-term care are not always sick in the traditional sense, but are unable to perform the basic activities of daily living. There are six of these: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking), and continence. An individual’s ability to perform these is important in determining what type of long-term care an individual needs. Medicare and private health insurance programs don’t pay for the majority of long-term care services.
Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are just two options for care under LTC insurance. Much like buying a new home or car, you need to do your research and find a suitable facility that accepts your loved one’s LTC insurance and offers the services they will need.
Age isn’t always a determining factor in needing long-term care. Statistics show this. Statistics can be talked into being on whichever side you want them to be on, but one study found that about 70 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care during their lives. Another study showed that about 40 percent of those receiving long-term care today are between 18 and 64. (For a discussion on considering the purchase of Long Term Care Insurance read this.)
My mother bought a LTC policy.
Long-term care insurance could cover adult daycare, Alzheimer’s facility, assisted living, home care, hospice care, respite care, and nursing home costs. If home care coverage is included, LTC could pay for a visiting or live-in caregiver, companion, housekeeper, therapist, or private duty nurse. Most policies have an elimination period or waiting period similar to a deductible. This is the period of time that you pay for care before your benefits are paid. The longer the elimination period, the lower the premium. Other factors that determine rates are age, daily (or monthly) benefit, how long benefits pay, inflation protection, and health.
My mother was a fine woman. She really was. No matter how poorly she felt, no matter how tough a day she was having, if you asked her how she was, she answered, “Fine.”
Mother had not had an easy life. Her father had died when she was 15. She quit school in order to work full-time to help support the family. She told me that she had learned at that age that life isn’t always going to give you what you want, so you’d better make the best out of whatever you get. She maintained a great attitude and refused to let others be unhappy. She taught me that worry and hatred do not empty tomorrow of sorrow—worry and hatred rob today of happiness.
Mom had a stroke when she was in her seventies that forced her to give up some of her independence and move in with my family. She had to give up driving—something she dearly loved. All the while she lived with us, if anyone asked her how she was doing, she responded with a believable, “Fine.”
One day, while having soup with my son and me, my mother had a second stroke. This one robbed her of most of her eyesight and mobility. The doctor told my siblings and me that she required more care than my family could provide. Once she was released from the hospital, Mom went into a nursing home. She would never go home to her own house again nor would she move back into mine. I visited her daily and each day I asked her how she was doing. She never failed to answer with a smile and a “Fine.” Mom had long ago learned that the secret to living happily ever after was to do it one smile at a time.
One of the workers in the nursing home in which my mother lived told me that my mother shared with her that she was so happy that she had LTC. She didn’t have to worry about the bills. Who was going to pay them? Or more to the point, who was going to pay them for her? It made her happy at a time when happiness could be hard to find.
Each day I visited, I asked my mother how she was.
Each day, my mother smiled in my direction and said, “Fine.”
It was the same answer she gave me to that question when she was living in her own home.
Despite her infirmities, my mother was fine.
She believed that life is an attitude and that she should have a good one. Her attitude was the main reason she was fine, but having long-term care insurance certainly helped.
Contact an insurance agent and find a long-term care insurance plan that works for you.
You’ll be fine.
Other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Long-Term Care Insurance:
Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.
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© Al Batt 2013