When I was young I watched my parents take care of my mom’s parents as they grew older and needed help. This was mostly needed for my grandmother, as her needs around the house, for things like cleaning, cooking, and hygiene weren’t easy to do on her own. This was especially evident after my grandfather passed away. I was in my early teens at the time, and I had no idea what long term care was and didn’t really think much about it. But what I did know was that my grandmother lived about an hour away from where we lived, and it wasn’t an easy drive to get up to see her. But, my mom and dad did it often, and I usually joined them. I didn’t know any better, and I didn’t think much of it. But, what I can tell you is, reflecting on it later in life, it was a stressful time for my parents, and wasn’t easy for anyone involved.
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It was of course a good thing to help take care of my grandmother, and spend time with her, but if she had long term care insurance, then at least there would’ve been the option for her to get more care, more help with her daily activities, and more daily companionship. I think that’s a big piece that gets lost in the need for caregiving associated with long term care needs or just in general. The idea of companionship from a caregiver is a big benefit in addition to helping to provide the actual care needed. It can be expensive to get care from a firm or an independent care provider, but it can help keep people safe, preserve their normal routine as best as possible (and in their homes), and the use of long term care insurance is a good way to help pay for it. My grandmother wasn’t independently wealthy, so maybe she couldn’t have afforded it. But, if it was a conversation, then perhaps it could been a better solution for everyone involved. Just a thought as you think about your own long term care journey, whether it’s for yourself or your parents.