Are you ready for 'The Call'?
Yet, how ready are you if you to answer “the call” — the one that says a member of your immediate family is in need of assistance. Or are your long-term care plans in place if “the call” is about you?
At a recent caregiving session at the American Society on Aging conference, I was struck by the admission from each expert on the panel about how truly unprepared they were to handle the personal issues facing care for a family member, much less the concerns and divergent opinions of siblings.
I remember the day I got “the call.” With years of experience in aging and long-term care, I found myself confused, overwhelmed and without easy access to all the right papers for my parents. Just like anybody else in that situation.
So, what can you do to put yourself in a better position to help a family member, or for a family member to help you if you are the one in need of care? Here are three tips to get you started.
1. Stop procrastinating and have a plan. Take the time to sit down with your spouse, family and siblings and talk about your expectations and preferences when the time comes that you can no longer take care of yourself. Do the same for older family members whom you may be responsible for if they need care.
2. Know how your care will be financed. Whether it's through your own resources, long-term care insurance, a reverse mortgage — or you are hoping to win the lottery! If you have a financial planner, make sure that you have funds targeted and segregated for long-term care. And make sure that someone in your family knows about your funding plan. Too often a long-term care insurance policy is uncovered by an adult child too late to have made some choices easier.
3. Get organized. Work with your parents or family members to get their paperwork in one place that is accessible to those who will be helping make care decisions. Then, do the same for yourself.
Remember, long-term care doesn't just happen to our customers.
Laura Rossman heads up marketing and communications for iQuote by Longevity Alliance, an independent national insurance broker. She also is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society on Aging.