I miss taking care
of my Dad. He was in pretty bad shape for quite a while toward the
end and required lots of care. It was at this time of his life that
he said one of the most memorable and flattering things he ever said
to me. With all of the anguish and frustration and physical pain he
endured, he told me that he feels safe when Iím around.
Itís over a year
since he passed away and that recollection just came to mind for the
first time as I sat at a park reading and was distracted by the
observation of a son my age taking a walk with his elderly blind
father. I notice that heís not being very nice to the old guy, and
it bothered me that he spoke to his father in such a condescending
and irritated tone of voice. Doesnít he realize how lucky he is
that his father is still ambulatory, still lucid, still here?
The truth is, I
donít know the whole story Ė the extent of his illness, the dynamics
of their relationship, etc. What I do know from my personal and
professional experience is that caregiving responsibilities are
sometimes thrust upon us whether we like it or not. I also know that
everyone reacts differently to the stress associated with the
caregiving experience. Both the caregiver and recipient have moments
of intolerance, patience, pride, embarrassment, courage,
helplessness, anger, guilt, strength, and weakness -- and sometimes
all at the same time. What an incredible emotional roller coaster.
Wouldnít it be
wonderful if we could eliminate most of the negative emotions, so we
could just focus on whatever rewarding and positive moments we can
share with our loved one at this juncture of his or her life? There
is a way. The proper long term care planning a can prevent a crisis
management scenario and encourage a loving caregiving environment.
Itís probably too
late for those already involved in the crisis management scenario,
but Iíve found that once a person has had the experience of being a
caregiver, they loathe to burden their loved with their own possible
future needs. Thatís why long term care insurance is the best
solution to this very real problem. The proper planning can not only
protect your nest egg and relieve your family of possible financial
ruin, but is essential to the emotional and physical well being of a
family as well. Thatís because the new generation of policies
usually include the services of a care coordinator, who will come to
the home, assess the situation, and offer to design and implement a
plan of care. This assistance, along with the actual hands-on
custodial, intermediate, and skilled nursing people afford people
the privilege of appreciating and enjoying their loved ones for who
they are, without worrying about the physical aspects involved in
caregiving or any negative emotions arising from the ordeal.
Now is the best
time to consider long term care insurance. Premiums will never be as
inexpensive for you as they are now, and there are no guarantees
that your health wonít prevent you from being insurable in the
future. My father wasnít healthy enough to qualify for a policy and
it was a tough ride, even though it was our pleasure to try and make
his as comfortable as possible.
The truth of the
matter is I always felt safe when he was around.