What Happens When Your Parent Needs Long Term Care?

The following is a guest post by Mark Baron, a certified Long Term Care Specialist with The Bulfinch Group in Needham, MA. Mark was kind enough to address a pressing issue for many of my clients and their families…

Long Term Care (LTC) is a family issue, not an individual one. A thirty year-old may not be thinking about this, but if something happens to a parent, it could blindside them. When a family member needs long term care, their life isn’t ending, but the immediate family’s is. Everything stops, and crisis management begins. This is especially difficult when the thirty year-old child is working full-time, and has children.

If families plan for this, or at least have a vague idea of what to do when the time comes, it can make a huge difference on the impact. It is far better for a family member to be in a position to supervise the care, not provide it. Long Term Care Insurance will obviously make a major difference in helping the family deal with the care, but first, the family has to have a plan in case care is needed, before discussing the insurance.

This discussion should take place while your parents are healthy, even in their 50s or 60s. It’s no different than planning for retirement, where you sit down and think about what it is that you want, should you need care. Instead of long term care being a taboo subject, it should be looked at as a normal part of the aging process. But sometimes, it can happen suddenly, for example, from a stroke, or accident. So, you must be prepared.

The best way to approach this is to have an honest discussion with your parents that may start by opening the conversation with the following statement, “I’m concerned that if you ever need care, I won’t know what to do, or know where you would want to receive care. I’m also worried that I won’t be in a position to be able to provide what you need, and I won’t know who to call.” This is a much more productive way to open the discussion about this subject. It’s key that you and your parents have an understanding about what type of care they may want, and where they would want to receive it. Once the discussion begins, long term care insurance can be one of the solutions to the problem.

Long Term Care insurance can be tricky to understand, but if you and your parents meet with a person who truly specializes in it, and who is an independent agent, you will benefit tremendously. Not everyone can qualify to be covered, but exploring this insurance is part of the process to prepare for the future. If the agent only recommends one company, you should ask what other companies were considered, and maybe get a few specific reasons why others weren’t part of the recommendations. A good LTC specialist should be able to answer these questions, and you’ll be well served. Your parents may decide that the insurance isn’t for them, but they at least will understand what they are rejecting.

If you have more questions regarding LTC and/or LTC insurance, you can reach Mark at: 781-292-3216 or mbaron@bulfinchgroup.com

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About Danielle G. Van Ess

Danielle G. Van Ess is a Massachusetts (born and raised), experienced estate planning and small business attorney who helps her clients protect and preserve what matters most to them. To learn more, please visit: dgvelaw.com or call: 781-740-0848