Suddenly Becoming a Caregiver is a Shock

Suddenly Becoming a Caregiver is a Shock

…They cared for you when you were young… but now your parents need your help.

…Your husband managed the bills… but now he’s suffered a stroke and needs your help.

…Your partner was the primary income earner… but now she’s become incapacitated.

You’re now responsible to manage medical visits, deal with creditors, handle insurance issues. You’ve been thrust into a nightmare scenario… are you prepared?

Do you know how money moves in and out of bank accounts each month? Can a doctor lawfully talk with you? Is there a will? Medical power of attorney? What kind of health insurance is available?

If you could find yourself in the role of caregiver, it’s a good practice to talk through potential issues and concerns with your financial adviser. Naturally you’ll need to include those who you could be called upon to care for as well.

These are difficult conversations… but necessary.

  1. Establish an Understanding

It’s important to have conversations with loved ones about what they want should they find themselves incapacitated. What are their desires with regard to finances, healthcare, and long-term treatment. What about in terminal situations?

Having these conversations when people are in full control of their mental faculties is critical…

  1. Simplify

Be prepared to automate as much as possible. Establish systems to take care of regular bills so you can have confidence they are properly paid. Make sure medical appointments (if necessary) are as consistent as possible so they become part of a regular routine. Look for any area where you see complexity and see if there’s a better way…

  1. Track and Document Everything.

Be sure to have duplicates of all important documents… from wills to Medicare and Social Security cards. Watch medicine consumption and pay attention to refills and prescription expiration dates. Find a way to keep track of passwords… is an interesting tool for this purpose.  For keeping copies of documents, scanning and storing them on Google Drive or Dropbox can be helpful. And in a situation like this, it is critical to track expenses.

  1. Pay Attention to Insurance.

Make sure you have the insurance you need well before it is needed. Your financial adviser can help you understand costs, benefits, and what you should expect in long-term situations. Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance… all play a role when you are a caregiver.

  1. Seek Legal Council.

A financial adviser is well equipped to talk with you about finances. But as a caregiver there are legal issues that arise and for these you need the help of an attorney. Achieving clarity about wills, power of attorney documents, and the like can help reduce potential disputes with other family members in the future.

  1. Keep a Medical Log.

Take the time to journal notes. Keep details from medical visits, document health insurance concerns, track doctor’s orders, and keep observations about the medical condition of the individual you are caring for. This ensures that you are not improperly charged for medical care and will help you see objectively if you need additional medical intervention in a long-term care situation.

  1. Don’t Go it Alone.

Get help from friends & family members alike. Become involved in a support group. Understand that the role of Caregiver can be daunting and that it is important to not become isolated in the process.  And remember, we’re here to help you as well.

What’s your long term care strategy?

What’s your long term care strategy?

Living longer is a trend. We’re eating healthier, exercising more, and benefitting from huge improvements in health care. Most will likely live into their 90’s and financial planners are being trained to help clients think about living past 100.

Most folks fail to think that far ahead. Yet studies show that individuals living past 70 will need additional care including home based nursing, assisted living facilities, and possibly nursing homes. In today’s dollars, such expenses can cost up to $7,000 a month.

If you are beginning to think it’s a good idea to start planning, you would be right.

Long-term care (also known as LTC) insurance is the preferred option for individuals that want to be ready for expenses that may come later in life. With a standard LTC policy, the insured pays annual premiums. These can range between $1,000 to $5,000 per year. This provides for financial resources that can be used to address the monthly costs of care in the future.

If one maximizes the benefits of a traditional LTC plan, they can be a great value. However, if the benefits go unused, it can be costly.

Another issue is that in the past, some insurance companies have done a bad job estimating the number of claims they would eventually need to pay. To address this problem, carriers have raised premiums by up to 15% per year. Some insurance companies have given up on offering Long Term Care insurance altogether.

One option to consider is a life insurance policy. With changes in insurance, a life insurance policy can offer you exactly what you need for long-term protection. Your policy can gather cash value, offer a death benefit, offer long-term treatment, as well as terminal health benefits. But should those needs never crop up, it can offer tax-free income once the cash value accumulates fully.

Many folks are surprised to learn how flexible life insurance has become. That’s why it is so important for individuals to talk with their financial advisor to understand their options.

From protecting income to safeguarding your loved ones, there are affordable options that can be tailored to fit your exact needs.