Michael is in his late 70’s and lives with his wife Mary, also in her late 70’s. They walk at least three miles a day and both appear to be in good health.
One evening, fighting extreme nausea, Michael walks in the hospital emergency room, soon aspirates and ends up on a respirator. This is the first hospitalization in his life.
He leaves the hospital 10 days later with a grade 4 bedsore and no diagnosis for the original illness. Because of the bedsore, no rehabilitation center or nursing home will accept Michael, so Mary cares for him in their home.
Michael is given pain medication to help deal with the continuous pain in his stomach and the awful bed sore on his lower back. The medication causes confusion and leads to Michael become frustrated with the inability to fully communicate. Additionally, because of the bed sore he cannot walk, use the rest room, or get out of bed without help. For roughly a month Mary provides care for her husband and makes good progress with the wound on his back but one night while moving him to the rest room she falls herself and breaks her hip.
The Cost of Care
At this point the couple needs 24-hour care. The family looks into it and for an in-home nurse providing 24-hour care costs roughly $8000.00 per month. Michael and Mary’s daughter Janet hires a nurse to care for them in the evenings and she leaves her job to stay with them during the day. The strain on Janet’s family is great. They struggle with the bills because of the loss of her income. The strain on Janet is greater. The care she must provide is difficult for many reasons. It is hard and physical labor. It’s emotionally draining for Janet to have to wash and clean up after her parents when using the rest room or worse after an accident in an adult diaper because it took to long or the pain was too great to make it to the bathroom. It’s a terrible blow to a parent’s dignity when their child cleans them in such a way.
The relationship between the siblings becomes strained. Janet is providing all of the care and resentment begins to grow towards her brother and sister. Bobby and Kim feel ashamed that cannot be there and for the first time in years their shame keeps them from coming home for Christmas. Two years go by and Michael dies. During this time Janet was providing 24-hour care because the cost of their nightly nurse had wiped out her parents nest-egg. Janet continued to care for her mother for six more months before she passed away.
The fallout from the three-year ordeal is devastating. The siblings no longer speak to one another nor do their families. Janet’s marriage is in rough shape and her finances are in dire straits because she had started to supplement her parents care with her families’ accounts. Worse of all she endured the shame in her parent’s eyes. Her parents watched their daughter care for them in deeply personal ways. Any money that was to be left behind was used for care. The children they raised are at odds with one another. In that last year when the family should have spent quality time together with their parents and one another remembering the great times they had together were instead sullied by shame, guilt, and anger.
With long-term care insurance, and a solid long-term care plan in place most of this painful story could have been avoided. Once Michael was out of the hospital, he could have hired a nurse instead of having his wife provide all the care which could have potentially avoided her broken hip which she never really recovered from. Janet would not have had to take the brunt of the care; she could have kept her job and the resentment towards her siblings would have been avoided. She would not have had to bathe or clean up after her parents avoiding a great deal of guilt and shame. Additionally, the long-term care insurance would have protected Michael and Mary’s assets so they could still leave something to their children.
Just about 70% of people are expected to need long-term care at some point during their lives. Have a long-term care plan, purchase long-term care insurance. It is not for you. It will protect your family and your legacy. There are plans available for almost any financial situation and these days most plans will allow full return of premium if never used, plans offer premium that will never increase, additionally if you pass away with the plan they will provide a death benefit for your loved ones.
Give Dyers Group a call and we can find options for you.