Hunkering Down

The winter months are a time of hunkering down. The clock chimes at 5:30 in the evening, and we realize that it’s already dark. Soon enough, spring will wake up the earth, but right now that seems a foreign reality.

When hunkered down, we normally turn inward. It can be difficult to see the big picture, and to imagine a different time with different realities. Where before we saw the big picture, when we’re hunkered down it’s sometimes difficult to see beyond our shoes!

This hunkering down is also a reality of long term care. Families talk about an acute long term care need as if it were a different time and place. As though it didn’t happen in the same family, to the same people, living their lives day-to-day.

The wagons are circled.

One of the saddest aspects of long term care can be when family members hunker down and try to conserve money by not spending it on care services.

Experts in the field report when an elderly couple needs care, it’s usually the husband who needs care first. He wants his wife to be taken care of financially after he’s gone, so he strongly encourages her to not spend a cent on his care that could be conserved. And, unless there’s a change of heart or a skilled intervention on the topic, his wife bears most (if not all) of the caregiving on her shoulders, often ruining her own health in the process.

Imagine that same scenario, but with an important wrinkle: the husband had planned ahead and had a long term care insurance policy. Now, there’s a pile of money to be spent only on his long term care. Gone is reluctance to buy professional care services. After all, it’s always easier to spend an insurance company’s money than your own money.

This is also one of the best traits of long term care insurance: the insurance money spent does not reduce the bank balance of the surviving spouse or the inheritance of the children and grandchildren.

The facts are clear. Long term care insurance provides money to help during one of the most difficult experiences an individual or family will go through. It is not money that comes out of retirement income, savings, and inheritance or a trust. It is a pile of money that is available as a result of paying premiums, and is activated or created when the insured needs long term care.

It’s not an exaggeration to say long term care insurance provides light to people and families at an otherwise dark time.