Here’s a column from January 2011 about a timeless subject.
Two weeks ago I helped my son bundle up our 5 year old and four month old granddaughters and load their car seats and strollers in the car for a long trek to Canada for the holidays. I thought to myself, “Boy, this is a lot of work every time you want to go somewhere. Somehow I had forgotten how much work it was raising five kids ourselves.
Today, on the first Sunday of the New Year, I found myself loading mom and dad’s senior walkers in the back of our SUV so we could enjoy Sunday dinner together at our house. The irony struck me as I was loading the second walker into the car; for those of us in the “sandwich generation”, Baby Boomers still helping kids while also helping senior parents, there’s not a lot of reprieve between baby strollers and senior walkers.
If we’re not careful to guard our circumstances as much as possible, they can quickly overtake us. What can we do about it? One thing (and for the record, I don’t sell it and have nothing to gain by promoting it!) is Long Term Care insurance. Fortunately in our case, mom saw the need several years ago to purchase LTCi for her and her older spouse. It would have been better if purchased earlier but “better late than never”. Were it not for this insurance that provides caregivers for them in their home, we would have a very difficult time ever getting away.
What kind of LTCi should you purchase? Well I don’t pretend to be an expert in this area but what I saw firsthand from their experience made me trade in the limited term policies we had for policies with an unlimited term; and the best part is that I was able to save $$$ in the process. Why and how did I do that?
First, “Why”. I did it because I watched mom begin to ration care when they needed more. The reason she rationed was because they had purchased policies with limited terms because “on average” it made sense. But it sure wreaked emotional havoc deciding when and how to ration the care they needed. I didn’t like what I was seeing so I went shopping for a new LTCi policy and found one with an unlimited term of care for my wife and me, and here’s the best part: we’re saving monthly premium $$$ as well! How? By cutting back on the daily benefit slightly. When I took a second look, I decided we could “self-insure” a bit by cutting back in that area and still protect against the ravages of inflation with an inflation rider. If this all seems complicated, it’s not really but I do recommend www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_term_care_insurance as a place to visit before you call an agent.
I sleep better now at night after loading all those strollers and walkers in the car knowing that my sons will have some help loading our walkers when the time comes!
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
photo credit to marketwatch
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